CINCINNATI (AP) — Corky Miller got a chance to play a major league game in front of his sons on Wednesday, and the journeyman catcher made the most of the opportunity.
Miller had a pair of run-scoring doubles and a key defensive play, helping the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-5 victory over Bartolo Colon and the slumping Oakland Athletics.
Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer and a run-scoring grounder for Cincinnati, which won consecutive games for the first time since July 24 in San Francisco and July 25 in Los Angeles. Joey Votto had two hits and Zack Cozart scored twice.
Miller has spent most of the season with Triple-A Louisville. He could be headed back to the minors soon with Ryan Hanigan on his way back from a wrist injury.
With sons Caden, 8, and Chase, 5, in town for the Reds’ family game, Miller increased his total to five RBIs in 14 games this season.
“It was fun looking up and seeing them,” Miller said.
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, but still lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Colon (14-4) was knocked out in the third inning in his shortest outing of the season. The All-Star right-hander, who was pitching on six days’ rest but weakened by a stomach virus, had made 15 consecutive starts of at least six innings and three or fewer earned runs.
“Bartolo didn’t have his best stuff,” manager Bob Melvin said. “His velocity was down a little bit. He had a stomach virus in the bullpen. He’s had it before but worked through it.”
“It’s no excuse,” Colon said. “I pitched bad. I wasn’t throwing strikes like I did before the All-Star game. The velocity was down a little, but it is no excuse. I don’t need to rest. The way the team hit today, I believe we can win. If they keep hitting like that we will win.”
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 Cozart for the second time on the day.
Colon 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.
Homer Bailey (7-10) won his second straight start despite allowing nine hits and five runs in 5 1-3 innings.
“They put the bat on the ball pretty well,” he said. “You saw it last night with Mat (Latos). He didn’t get a lot of strikeouts. When you put it into play, things happen.”
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.
Josh Donaldson and Eric Sogard had two hits and two RBIs apiece for Oakland, which finished with 11 hits. Donaldson hit a solo drive in the second for his 17th homer.
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.
“I always expect them to go,” Bruce said. “When you don’t, that’s when you’re caught off guard and look like an idiot.”
Callaspo left with a left forearm contusion. The Reds originally reported that Miller had a right quad contusion, but he said after the game he banged knees with Callaspo. He still caught one more inning.
“Catchers are football players,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “They’re tough. I wish everybody was a tough as they are.”
Oakland also had Sogard retired in a rundown off third in the sixth.
Bruce jumped on the first pitch he saw in the third, sending a long drive into the netting above the visitor’s bullpen down the right-field line. The one-out shot came with Votto aboard after a leadoff single.
It was Bruce’s team-leading 24th homer. He also is second on the Reds to Brandon Phillips with 78 RBIs.
NOTES: Sogard extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... 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.