Bartolo Colon believes he's a better pitcher at age 38 after missing an entire season than he was during his harder-throwing, Cy Young award-winning days.
He sure pitched that way against Oakland, throwing a four-hitter for his first shutout in nearly 5 years as the visiting New York Yankees beat the Athletics yesterday for the eighth straight time, 5-0.
"I feel really strong physically and mentally right now," Colon said through an interpreter. "I feel really good right now. It doesn't matter that I'm 38 years old. I feel really good right now."
Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer off Trevor Cahill (6-3), Robinson Cano added an RBI double and Derek Jeter recorded his 2,981st career hit and drove in a run for the Yankees, who have won 22 of 26 games against Oakland since the start of the 2008 season.
But the story of the game was Colon, who dialed up a performance reminiscent of his AL Cy Young award season in 2005.
"When he first came up he just threw the ball as hard as he could," Jeter said. "Now he's hitting his spots, his ball is moving, he's getting ahead of guys. He's become more of a pitcher. I think he was more of a thrower when he first came up."
The Yankees have won back-to-back games behind strong starts from Colon and CC Sabathia after losing the first two games of their nine-game West Coast trip.
Colon allowed no walks and struck out six to snap a five-start winless stretch with his first shutout since blanking Seattle, 4-0, on July 5, 2006, with the Angels.
"He's really exceeding our expectations," Teixeira said. "He's been huge for us. If we didn't have him in our rotation, we'd be scrambling right now."
In other games:
* At Toronto, Jo-Jo Reyes won for the first time in 29 starts by throwing his first career complete game and Jayson Nix hit a two-run home run to lead the Blue Jays to an 11-1 rout of the Cleveland Indians.
Reyes (1-4) allowed one run and eight hits, earning a win for the first time in nearly 3 years. The lefthander went 0-13 with a 6.59 ERA in his 28 starts between wins.
* At Boston, Alexei Ramirez and Carlos Quentin each had a pair of RBI in a four-run sixth inning as the Chicago White Sox snapped Jon Lester's seven-game winning streak and beat the Red Sox, 7-3.
The White Sox won for the 11th time in their last 13 games against the Red Sox.
* At St. Petersburg, Fla., Mike Napoli led a 20-hit attack with two home runs and five RBI as the Texas Rangers trounced the Tampa Bay Rays, 11-5. Napoli homered for the third consecutive day, giving him four in three games.
* At Detroit, Alex Avila's double in the eighth inning that appeared to hit a fan in the stands down the leftfield line scored Jhonny Peralta from first base and the Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins, 6-5.
* At Kansas City, Torii Hunter's second home run, a two-run shot off Joakim Soria in the ninth, powered the Los Angeles Angels to a come-from-behind, 10-8 victory over the Royals.
Hunter reached 1,000 career RBI with his second homer.
* At Seattle, Jack Cust hit the second triple of his career, driving in two runs to help the Mariners beat the Baltimore Orioles, 4-3.
* Minnesota lefthander Francisco Liriano is headed to the 15-day disabled list with inflammation of his throwing shoulder, less than a month after pitching a no-hitter.