ARLINGTON (AP) – Bartolo Colon has always admired Hall of Fame pitcher and fellow countryman Juan Marichal.
Now the 45-year-old portly right-hander known as “Big Sexy” has matched the “Dominican Dandy” for the most wins by a pitcher born in the Dominican Republic.
Colon got his 243rd career victory after working five innings Wednesday night as the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 8-2.
“It’s a little different tonight because I tied the mark of a Hall of Famer. I feel very proud and honored to do that,” Colon said through a translator. “It means a lot. He’s Dominican and the first guy from the Dominican to become a Hall of Famer.”
In his fourth attempt at the milestone victory, Colon (3-3) got it against one of the 10 other major league teams he has pitched for since his big league debut in 1997 with Cleveland. He allowed two runs with one strikeout and two walks.
“Really incredible moment for Bartolo, for this team,” manager Jeff Banister said. “More importantly, I think for Bart, just continue to write his name in the history books and some legacy. … To sit and watch a guy like this go out and compete every time he takes the ball, it’s incredible to watch.”
Colon leads all active pitchers with 243 wins and 3,383 2-3 innings pitched. His 2,499 strikeouts are third among active pitchers, behind CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander — all three are former AL Cy Young Award winners. Nicaragua’s Dennis Martinez, with 245 wins, is the only Latin American native with more wins than Colon.
“Milestones are very important. That’s why I keep playing,” Colon said. “It’s not the money. It’s something I try to fulfill. That’s why I keep playing, to meet these goals.”
Marichal was 243-142 in 471 games (457 starts) for three teams from 1960-75, spending the first 14 of those 16 seasons with the San Francisco Giants. Colon is 243-179 in 550 games (539 starts)
Jurickson Profar homered twice, while Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman also went deep for the Rangers in the first four innings against Oakland right-handed starter Daniel Mengden (6-5). Profar had his first multihomer game, and added a two-run single in the seventh for a career-high five RBIs.
Colon held the A’s scoreless until Khris Davis hit his 15th homer, a two-run shot that made it 6-2 with two outs in the fifth. Colon got an inning-ended flyball on his 97th pitch and then did fist-bumps with teammates in the dugout.
Texas led 3-0 in the first after Profar hit a two-run shot and Gallo immediately followed with his 17th homer. Both also homered Tuesday night, when the Rangers went deep a season-high five times against Oakland.
Profar hit another in the third, giving him homers in three consecutive at-bats. He walked in his final plate appearance Tuesday after his sixth-inning homer then. Guzman’s two-run homer in the fourth made it 6-0.
“Didn’t give up very many hits, but they all ended up being homers,” Mengden said. “Sometimes that’s a good thing. Solo homers usually don’t hurt you, but in this case, four of them that hurts.”
KEEPING THEM STRANDED
Rangers reliever Jose Leclerc came on with two on and no outs in the eighth, and the A’s didn’t score. He has allowed only one of 23 inherited runs to score. Right fielder Nomar Mazara threw out Davis trying to score on Mark Canha’s single for the last out.
“The difference for him is the calmness, the confidence and pounding the strike zone with all of his pitches,” Banister said. “His confidence continues to ramp up.”
Oakland has homered in 19 consecutive road games, two short of the club record. The A’s have played six games in a row without an error, their longest streak this season.
Athletics: OF Matt Joyce, who hasn’t played since leaving in the fifth inning of Saturday night’s game at Kansas City, was put on the 10-day DL with a lower back strain. OF Stephen Piscotty didn’t play after coming out of Tuesday’s game early with left quad soreness.
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre was out of the starting lineup for the second time in six days since coming off the DL (left hamstring strain) for the second time this year. “Just easing him back into it,” Banister said.
Athletics: Oakland is back home Thursday to start a 10-game homestand. RHP Frankie Montas (2-0) goes against Kansas City.
Rangers: Cole Hamels (3-5), with a 2.89 ERA his last seven starts, pitches for Texas on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game home series against Houston. The lefty threw six scoreless innings against the Astros on May 11.
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