Cotton threw two-hit ball over six innings in the A's 4-2 loss to Houston on Monday night.
"It's awesome to see the young guys come up and take advantage of their opportunities," said A's reliever Sean Doolittle, who took the loss on Tuesday. "Another really tough loss, back-to-back nights, especially frustrating because of the start Manaea gave us. That was one of his best outings of the season and to squander it is incredibly frustrating. The same with Cotton, one of his best starts last night. That's the silver lining in this series so far."
Manaea acknowledged he got a little frustrated in the game but knew how to calm himself down. He's quickly learning how to go about his business.
Manaea has tossed 11 scoreless innings after missing 15 days with a back injury, and has allowed just three earned runs over his past 21 1/3 innings. His ERA is 2.84 since coming off the disabled list on June 29.
Cotton is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA after his first three Major League starts. They're beginning to look like a 1-2 punch near the top of the rotation.
"Really good. Similar to the last time out," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Manaea. "Got a lot of swing and misses, some strikeouts. He's tough to deal with when he's got all three pitches working. That was the case tonight."
Manaea plans to continue his baseball education through his last couple starts.
"My goal is to go out and throw six or seven innings," he said. "I'm looking to finish strong and carry that through to next season."
Cotton echoed the same sentiment Monday night.
"As I continue to pitch I want to get better," he said. "I'm doing what I've been taught through the Minors. I want to go out and compete with these guys."
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com based in Oakland. He covered the A's on Tuesday.