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Colon gives Twins a chance with solid outing

Veteran holds A's to three runs in 6 1/3 for best start with new club
Special to MLB.com

OAKLAND -- Bartolo Colon was a popular figure during his two seasons in Oakland. Four years later and wearing a different uniform, not much has changed for the 44-year-old pitcher, a point that was driven home during the Twins' 6-5 loss to the A's on Sunday.

Colon was greeted by a nice ovation from the crowd of 16,790 when he was introduced before the game and received a similar applause from fans of both teams when he exited with one out in the seventh inning.

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OAKLAND -- Bartolo Colon was a popular figure during his two seasons in Oakland. Four years later and wearing a different uniform, not much has changed for the 44-year-old pitcher, a point that was driven home during the Twins' 6-5 loss to the A's on Sunday.

Colon was greeted by a nice ovation from the crowd of 16,790 when he was introduced before the game and received a similar applause from fans of both teams when he exited with one out in the seventh inning.

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In between, the Twins right-hander put together the type of afternoon that has become typical for Colon at this stage of his career -- sharp at times, while struggling at others. He allowed three runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings in what was his best start since signing a Minor League contract with the Twins on July 7, following his release by the Braves.

"I feel good," Colon said. "I feel like this is one of my second homes. I thought it went well."

Colon threw 17 first-pitch strikes and retired 10 of the first hitters he faced. He also allowed three consecutive hits in the fourth that led to Oakland's first two runs, then gave up a leadoff home run in the fifth to the A's No. 9 hitter, rookie Jaycob Brugman.

Only a meltdown by Minnesota's bullpen in the eighth inning prevented Colon from collecting his first win with the Twins and what would have been the 236th of his career. The ageless pitcher has already won games with nine different teams, including the A's, for whom he pitched in 2012 and '13.

It was the second straight walk-off loss for the Twins and the third on their current road trip. "We're in a bad streak," Colon said. "Hopefully we can get out of it and start winning some games."

Equally important was that Colon worked deep into the game, giving the Twins' bullpen a rest. That's significant for a pitching staff that just lost one starter (Jaime Garcia) to a trade and could see a second (Ervin Santana) moved before Monday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"It was very similar to his last outing," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Looked particularly sharp early, threw a lot of strikes, relied on his fastball, movement, changing speeds on it with the two-seamer and the four-seamer. He got deep in the game and came out with the lead. He gave us a chance to win. He did his job."

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. He covered the Twins on Sunday.

Minnesota Twins, Bartolo Colon