Bartolo Colon tied a career high by winning his eighth consecutive start as the Oakland Athletics downed the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1, in the opener of a three-game interleague series.
Colon (11-2) has been stellar for the past month-plus, with the 40-year-old's latest gem seeing him limit the Cardinals to one run on six hits and a walk over eight strong frames. He has posted a 1.37 ERA over his torrid stretch.
Stephen Vogt hit his first career homer and the A's jumped out to a comfortable lead by pushing five runs across in the second inning, with Seth Smith providing the big hit with a two-out, two-run single.
The eruption chased Shelby Miller (8-6) early after the promising right-hander only recorded five outs and surrendered five runs on six hits and two walks.
"Tonight was really disappointing. I struggled. I just didn't have it today," said Miller.
The Cardinals, making their second ever trip to Oakland, had been in first place in the NL Central since April 30 but now trail the surging Pirates by one game after losing five of their last six.
Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick each drove in a run on payoff pitches to get Oakland's outburst started in the second inning. After a pair of two-out walks loaded the bases, Smith singled to center to bring in a pair, before Jed Lowrie capped the frame with a run-scoring ground-rule double.
Vogt, hitless in his first 32 career at-bats, sent an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right for a memorable blast leading off the fourth.
"To get a home run as your first hit is special, it is a special group to be a part of. It is a special feeling," Vogt said.
David Freese accounted for St. Louis' only run with an RBI single the fifth, the lone hit for the visitors in four chances with runners in scoring position.
Dan Otero pitched the ninth to seal Oakland's third straight win.
The A's are 47-34, their best record after 81 games since going 48-33 in 1992 ... Oakland has won 15 of its last 17 at home ... Colon had not won 11 games since he won 21 for the Angels in his 2005 Cy Young Award-winning campaign ... San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh was in attendance wearing an A's cap.