A’s rally falls just short against Astros 

click to enlarge Yoenis Cespedes
  • AP Photo/Ben Margot
  • Oakland Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes swings for a two run home run off Houston Astros' Joshua Zeid in the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.

OAKLAND — Bartolo Colon’s magical season is taking a sudden U-turn as the innings pile up.

The 40-year-old right-hander lasted only four innings at the O.co Coliseum on Tuesday, surrendering five earned runs on seven hits in a 5-4 loss to the woeful Houston Astros.

The A’s mounted a late rally, scoring three two-out runs in the eighth, punctuated by Yoenis Cespedes’ 19th home run of the season, a two-run shot.

But ultimately Oakland failed to complete the comeback in the ninth. First, Eric Sogard hit a ball to the warning track with a runner on that was caught. Then, with two outs, Chris Young hit a blast to left field with Stephen Vogt aboard that would have won the game. However, the umpires used video replay and ruled the ball was foul by mere inches and Young struck out on the next pitch to end the game.

As for Colon, this outing comes on the heels of a 2 2/3 innings appearance in Cincinnati last week. In his past two starts, Colon (14-5) is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA.

Despite the loss, the A’s (67-51) remain only one game behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West.

The Astros jumped on Colon in the second inning, scoring two runs off a walk and a pair of doubles.

The trouble continued in the third when Robbie Grossman hit a one-hopper to first baseman Brandon Moss and legged out an infield single after Colon quit on his attempt to cover the bag. Brett Wallace singled on the first pitch of the next at-bat and then Jason Castro drove in Grossman on a sacrifice fly to left.

Former A’s first baseman Chris Carter stretched the Astros’ lead to 4-0, delivering a two-out double off the wall in left-center, scoring Wallace.

The Astros added a fifth run in the fourth after Barnes led off with a double to right and scored on an unconventional 4-3-6 double play.

Prior to his last outing, Colon had pitched six or more innings in 15 straight starts, compiling an 11-1 record with a 1.69 ERA over that stretch.

Colon’s velocity peaked in the high 80s again on Tuesday. He’s thrown 154 1/3 innings this year, approaching his highest total (164 1/3) since 2005.

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Paul Gackle

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