PITTSBURGH -- Bartolo Colon and Jeff Locke are both headed to next week's All-Star Game. Thus, it wasn't surprising that the two engaged in a pitchers' duel Monday night.
Colon got the better of Locke -- just barely -- as the Oakland Athletics edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 at PNC Park.
Colon (12-3) won for the ninth time in his last 10 starts, allowing one run and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked one.
Colon had an eight-game winning streak halted in his last start, when he lost to the Chicago Cubs on July 3. He has a 1.48 ERA over his past 10 starts.
Locke (8-2) saw his streak of 16 consecutive starts without a loss -- a Pirates single-season record -- end despite giving up only two runs and three hits in seven innings. He struck out four and walked three. It was Locke's first loss since April 7, when he made his season debut against the Dodgers at Los Angeles.
A pitcher left off the American League roster for the All-Star Game, Grant Balfour, made history by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
It was the 41st consecutive save converted by Balfour over the past two seasons, breaking the Athletics' record set by Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley from 1991-92. Balfour is a perfect 23-for-23 this season.
The Pirates outhit the Athletics 9-3, but Oakland was able to scratch out a pair of runs against Locke.
Jed Lowrie had two of the Athletics' hits. Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez and Clint Barmes had two hits each for Pittsburgh.
American League West-leading Oakland improved to 10-0 all-time against Pittsburgh while winning for the ninth time in its last 12 games. The Athletics have also won 21 of their last 28 interleague games, dating to last season.
The Pirates have lost five of seven since a nine-game winning streak, and they fell into second place in the National League, a half-game game behind idle the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates also saw their eight-game winning streak in interleague game end.
The Athletics scored the game's first run in the fourth inning. Lowrie hit a one-out double for Oakland's first hit, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Josh Donaldson's sacrifice fly.
Oakland made it 2-0 in the seventh as Locke issued back-to-back walks with two outs, the second to Derek Norris with the bases loaded to force in a run.
The Pirates got their run in the seventh when Tabata's two-out infield single plate Barmes, who had doubled. However, the inning ended when center fielder Chris Young made a diving catch to rob Andrew McCutchen of extra bases with runners on first and second.
Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte's 12-game hitting streak was snapped, as he went 0-for-5. He flied out to the warning track in deep left field in the ninth inning in his final at-bat.
NOTES: Oakland purchased the contract of 2B Grant Green from Triple-A Sacramento before the game, and he was in the starting lineup batting eighth in his major league debut. He went 0-for-3. The Athletics cleared a 40-man roster spot for Green, their first-round draft pick in 2009, by designating INF Adam Rosales for assignment. ... Pittsburgh 2B Neil Walker missed his second straight game because of a strained right oblique muscle. He was originally scheduled to have an MRI on Monday, but the Pirates decided to wait for a few days to see how quickly the muscle heals. INF/OF Brandon Inge started in Walker's place again, and he finished 0-for-3. ... A pair of rookies will square off Tuesday night as Oakland RHP Dan Straily (5-2, 4.52 ERA) faces Pittsburgh RHP Gerrit Cole (4-1, 3.94 ERA). Straily has won four consecutive decisions, and Cole also had won four straight until suffering his first career loss July 4 against Philadelphia.