CINCINNATI — Oakland's offense finally perked up on Wednesday. Unfortunately for the A's, 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 lose 6-5 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 2²⁄³ 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.”
A's 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.”
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 5¹⁄³ 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 2²⁄³ innings of two-hit ball before Aroldis Chapman tossed a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 31 opportunities.