WHEN BARTOLO COLON threw a first pitch ball to the Angels’ Maicer Izturis in the fifth inning of last night’s game, nobody could have predicted he was about to achieve a feat almost unprecedented in baseball.
However, 38 perfect throws later, Colon had made his way through 11 consecutive Angels players without throwing a ball.
Indeed, it wasn’t until his second pitch to Bobby Abreu in the eight inning that the 38-year-old Dominican recorded another ball.
The run – the longest since Tim Wakefield’s 30 consecutive strikes in 1998 – was part of an outstanding performance from the right-hander that resulted in 82 strikes from 102 pitches before he was withdrawn in the ninth inning in favour of Fautino De Los Santos to close the game.
By that stage, the A’s had built a four run lead thanks to a Yoenis Cespedes three-run homer in the first inning and a Jonny Gomes solo home run in the sixth.
The A’s went on to win 6-0 thanks to runs Jemile Weeks and Eric Sogard at the top of the ninth.
However, after the game, all conversation centred on Colon’s remarkable achievement.
“You can’t even get 38 strikes out of a pitching machine,” said Jonny Gomes, adding: “I’ve never seen anything remotely close.”
Colon’s manager Bob Melvin was far from surprised by his pitcher’s performance.
“I think he could throw a strike with his eyes closed if he had to, the way he’s been for us.”
Colon hasn’t allowed a run over his past two starts, spanning 15 innings. During that time, he’s given up just seven hits, with only four coming Wednesday.
The result takes the A’s to 6-7 (Colon is 3-1) while the disappointing Angels slip to 4-8.