The big veteran who was supposed to be dealt may very well be the key arm in the race to the playoffs. Bartolo Colon went eight shutout innings and the Oakland A's survived a shaky ninth inning to win 4-1 and snap a two-game losing streak.
Colon evened his record at 8-8, as a three-run third inning was keyed by Josh Reddick's 23rd home run. That was more than enough for Colon, who was his usual strike-throwing self, allowing seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts in his eight innings.
Oakland's offense showed a lot of patience, drawing eight walks off of three Toronto pitchers, including five from starter Henderson Alvarez. Unfortunately, they left 11 men on base.
The Blue Jays were nearly as inept with runners on, stranding 10. Their best chances to score against Colon came in the fourth and sixth innings with two men on. But Colon managed to retire first baseman David Cooper in both instances.
In the bottom of the seventh, the A's got insurance with an RBI single by Brandon Inge, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Colon seemed to settle into a groove in the seventh and eighth innings, but manager Bob Melvin elected to remove him after 96 pitches.
It nearly cost him when Sean Doolittle struggled, allowing two hits and leaving after just a third of an inning with runners on first and third.
Closer Ryan Cook entered and proceeded to induce a slow grounder from pinch-hitter Moises Sierra, who beat it out for an RBI fielder's choice. Brett Lawrie then hit a bouncing ball into center field and the tying run was at the plate.
But Cook got Colby Rasmus to ground out to second and Eric Sogard made the force out unassisted, ending the game.
With the win, the A's moved to 57-48 and coupled with the Los Angeles Angels losing, moved back into first place in the AL Wild Card standings.
The club will look to build on the victory Friday night, as hyped prospect Dan Straily makes his Major League debut against Toronto's Brett Cecil. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
Note: Oakland's Seth Smith exited the game in the fifth inning with an apparent hamstring injury. There were no further updates on his status going forward.