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Game #56: Bartolo swallows White Sox whole, only hiccups five times

Bartolo Colon turned in easily the A's best pitching performance of the year — he threw a complete game shutout, allowing only five hits and finishing the game in a neat 2:04. Josh Reddick made his presence known in his first start back with the big club, also.

He does it all, ladies and gentlemen.
He does it all, ladies and gentlemen.

Here's all you need to know about this one: Bartolo Colon is good. Very, very good.

This game was a textbook pitcher's duel for a full seven and a half innings before the A's finally broke through in the bottom of the 8th, tagging Chicago's Dylan Axelrod and later a few relievers for three runs. The first of these — which ended up being the only one that mattered — came on a Josh Reddick double to right field, scoring John Jaso.

After a Brandon Moss walk, Coco Crisp Adam Rosales successfully moved the runners up to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, in one of the only contexts in which I'm OK with a sac bunt. And Rosy managed to execute well this time around, unlike a similar attempt ten days ago that resulted in a double play against Texas.

A similar breakthrough never happened for the White Sox; Melvin made the relatively easy decision to leave Bartolo in the game going into the 9th inning, as he'd been cruising at 93 pitches and only five hits allowed. Bartolo was able to finish the job, earning himself the 11th shutout of his hugely successful career by getting three consecutive pop-ups. He threw only 105 pitches on the night. Even though Bartolo only struck out three Chicago batters, he was absolutely pounding the zone and trusting his defense to make plays.

The 40-year-old Dominican product even showed off his own mobility, making an impressive hop off the mound, moving to his right, to snag a chopper from Alex Rios in the 4th inning that might've been beaten out for an infield hit had he not reached it.

Reddick looked great defensively, also, getting a great jump on a Dayan Viciedo liner to the right field corner in the top of the 8th and using two hands to secure the grab.

This was a phenomenal win tonight for the A's — despite a fantastic performance by Axelrod, the A's offense did what it had to do and let Bartolo keep the A's in the game for the beginning and put him in a position to close it out at the end.

By the way, Josh Donaldson is red hot. You know that little target out below the left field bleachers that led to some controversy as to whether a Chris Young fly ball nicked it prior to the 19-inning marathon against the Angels? In batting practice, the Bringer of Rain hit a home run right through the target, leading to a raucous celebration about two and a half hours for game time. Does he win the $10,000 gift certificate?

Speaking of the number 10,000, show up early to the Coliseum tomorrow to snag one of 10,000 free Yoenis Cespedes gold giveaway jerseys, which is one of a bunch of cool upcoming A's promotions (the "Coco Lean" bobblehead and "Balfour Ragin' Gnome" come to mind). See you there for a 1:05 PM start on what should be a hot day in South Oakland! Alex Hall will have your game thread.