Some say that 40 is the new 30, but for Oakland starter Bartolo Colon the milestone age has him pitching more like a 20-year-old.
Colon takes his turn in the rotation for the Athletics on Friday looking to win a third straight start in the opener of a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox.
Colon, who has yielded three runs or fewer in eight of his 10 starts this season, hurled seven scoreless frames of nine-hit ball to beat Houston on Sunday. He struck out a season-high nine without a walk and has given up just four free passes this season.
"He knows how to make a pitch when he needs to," said Athletics manager Bob Melvin. "I thought his stuff was as good today as we've seen all year."
Colon, who became just the fourth pitcher in Oakland history to start a game at the age of 40, is 5-2 on the season with a 3.82 earned run average. Three of those wins have come versus the Astros.
The right-hander lost both of his starts against the White Sox last season, falling to 10-8 with a 4.06 ERA in 22 meetings with them lifetime.
Oakland had ripped off six straight wins before losing a 5-2 decision to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. A.J. Griffin spun five shutout innings for Oakland, but faltered in the sixth and was charged with four runs allowed over 5 2/3 frames.
"To be doing so well like that and then let them put together hits like that is pretty frustrating," Griffin said afterward. "They capitalized on their opportunities and that's how it goes sometimes."
Coco Crisp accounted for three of Oakland's five hits, including an RBI single, while Yoenis Cespedes' RBI single in the seventh inning extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games.
The White Sox took a 5-1 surge into a weather-shortened three-game set with the cross-town rival Cubs, but dropped all three contests. That includes Thursday's 8-3 decision at Wrigley Field.
Jake Peavy made his shortest start of the season by going just four innings while surrendering six runs on eight hits. He served up a fourth-inning grand slam to opposing starter Travis Wood one start after a one-run, complete-game performance against the Marlins.
Paul Konerko finished 2-for-4 with two RBI for the White Sox, while Alejandro De Aza knocked in the other run.
"We just got beat in all aspects of the game," said Konerko. "They were the better team in every area of the game."
Set to face Oakland for the first time in his career, Dylan Axelrod brings a three-start winning streak into tonight's outing for Chicago.
The right-hander's string of victories come after he went 0-3 with a 4.17 ERA over his first seven starts of the season and he kept his team in Sunday's 5-3 win over Miami. Axelrod allowed three runs on six hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings, giving him a season ERA of 4.21.
"I didn't have my good stuff. I was kind of erratic in those middle innings," the 27-year-old Axelrod said. "But we pulled it out, so I can't be mad about it."
These clubs split six meetings last season.