OAKLAND — The only thing Bartolo Colon cares about is staying healthy and helping his team win. He simply has no idea how to answer the constant questions about how he's doing both.
Colon tossed eight innings of one-run ball to win his eighth straight start, powering the Oakland Athletics past the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 on Friday night to tie the best streak of his career.
"I don't even know what I can say," Colon said. "Thank you, God."
Colon (11-2) controlled the game with an efficient fastball the way he has so many others this season, burnishing his All-Star credentials and confounding critics who wonder how the 40-year-old continues to dominate. He allowed six hits, struck out five and walked
one to match Max Scherzer of Detroit for the most wins in the AL this season.
Stephen Vogt stole some of the spotlight from Colon's latest gem when he homered to end an 0-for-32 stretch to start his career, and four players drove in runs during the second inning to chase Shelby Miller (8-6) and help Oakland win its third straight game.
Colon hugged his catcher in the dugout when he came out after the eighth and whispered in Vogt's ear: "Thank you, Poppy." Vogt's line-drive homer against reliever Joe Kelly in the fourth ended the longest hitless streak to start a career by a non-pitcher since Chris Carter began 0 for 33 with the A's in 2010.
"I can't imagine anything better," Vogt said.
The Cardinals (48-31) dropped a game behind Pittsburgh for the best record in the majors — and the NL Central lead. Kelly, who last pitched on June 21, allowed just the one run and three hits in 5 1-3 innings of relief in one of the few bright spots for the Cardinals, who couldn't solve Colon's deceptive fastballs.
"He has a different kind of movement and throws harder than what the gun reads," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.