CINCINNATI – Oakland's offense finally perked up on Wednesday. Unfortunately for the Athletics, it was a sluggish day for Bartolo Colon.
Colon was knocked out in the third inning in his shortest outing of the season, and Oakland went on to a 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
AL West-leading Oakland, which began the day with a one-game advantage over Texas, scored as many runs as it had in its previous three games. The five runs and 11 hits were the highest totals for the A's since they had 12 hits in a 9-4 victory against Toronto on July 29.
But Oakland still lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Colon (14-4) allowed five runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings. He was 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his previous five starts, including a four-hitter in a 6-0 victory at the Los Angeles Angels on July 21.
The All-Star right-hander was pitching on six days' rest but was weakened by a stomach virus.
"It is no excuse," Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I wasn't throwing strikes like I did before the All-Star game."
Manager Bob Melvin hoped that an extra day off would help the veteran's performance.
"We've seen him have lower velocity before," Melvin said. "He's had the stomach virus before and pitched through it. He's pitched without his best stuff before and worked through it."
Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer and threw out a runner at the plate for Cincinnati, which won consecutive games for the first time since July 24 in San Francisco and July 25 in Los Angeles. Corky Miller added two run-scoring doubles.
Miller's first run-scoring double gave Cincinnati a 2-1 lead in the second inning. The Reds added three more in the third, with Bruce going deep for the second straight game and Miller driving in Zack Cozart for the second time on the day.
Homer Bailey (7-10) won his second straight start despite allowing nine hits and five runs in 5 1-3 innings.
Bailey left with a runner on third, but Manny Parra wriggled out of the jam. Parra, Sam LeCure and J.J. Hoover combined for 2 2-3 innings of two-hit ball before Aroldis Chapman tossed a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 31 opportunities.
"They put the bat on the ball pretty well," Bailey said. "You saw it last night. Mat Latos didn't get a lot of strikeouts last night. When you put the ball in play, things happen."
Josh Donaldson and Eric Sogard had two hits and two RBIs apiece for Oakland. Donaldson hit a solo drive in the second for his 17th homer.
"I had some good pitches to hit and I hit them," said Donaldson, who had been without an RBI since the All-Star break. "My approach hasn't been good since the All-Star break but I hit some balls on the screws."
Donaldson was disappointed in a play he failed to make at third base in the fifth.
With a man on third and one out, Devin Mesoraco hit a hard grounder to a drawn-in Donaldson. The ball glanced off his glove, allowing Xavier Paul to score. The play was initially ruled an error but later changed to a hit.
"I didn't look to see if it was a hit or error," Donaldson said. "I have high expectations of myself. I feel that any ball I get my glove on, I should field."
Stephen Vogt singled in a run in the fourth for the A's, but Bruce made a perfect throw to cut down Alberto Callaspo trying to score from second on the base hit to right. Oakland also had Sogard retired in a rundown off third in the sixth.
NOTES: Sogard extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... Miller bruised his right quad in the collision with Callaspo, forcing him from the game. ... The Reds activated RHP Jonathan Broxton from the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Pedro Villareal to Triple-A Louisville. Broxton had been on the DL since June 15 with a strained right elbow. ... Oakland LHP Brett Anderson, out since May 1 with a sprained right ankle, is expected to pitch a simulated game Saturday. He threw 31 pitches with Single-A Stockton on Tuesday. ... Melvin planned on Tuesday to have Derek Norris start at catcher on Wednesday, but days off on Monday and Thursday prompted him to stick with his usual lineup against right-handed starters, which includes Vogt at catcher. ... Reds 3B Todd Frazier batter second for the first time in his career. He went 0 for 3 with a walk and was hit by a pitch while extending his career-worst slide to 0 for 31. It's the longest hitless slump by a Reds position player since Drew Stubbs was 0 for 32 in 2012.