RICK EYMER,Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Matt Garza pitched eight sharp innings for his third consecutive win, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
Garza (4-1) allowed one run and four hits, struck out five and walked three in his fourth consecutive quality start. The right-hander is 3-0 with a sparkling 0.90 ERA since yielding a season-high nine runs to the Cincinnati Reds on June 11.
With the Cubs well off the pace in the NL Central, Garza could be one of the top targets for contenders looking for pitching help ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Luis Valbuena homered for Chicago, which has won five of seven. Alfonso Soriano and Brian Bogusevic each drove in a run, and Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 15 chances.
Brandon Moss went deep for the Athletics, who had won five of six.
Oakland right-hander Bartolo Colon (11-3) gave up two runs and nine hits in seven innings in his first loss since May 9. He was 8-0 with a 1.66 ERA in his previous nine starts.
Colon won the AL pitcher of the month award earlier in the day after going 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA during June.
Colon’s first wild pitch in over four years helped the Cubs score in the first. Starlin Castro singled with one out, advanced to second on the wild pitch and scored on Soriano’s single.
Colon’s last wild pitch was on May 26, 2009, a span of 1,499 days and 443 innings.
Valbuena’s seventh homer of the season gave the Cubs a 2-0 edge in the third. It was his first home run in just over a month.
Moss connected for his 15th homer in the fourth, but Dioner Navarro and Bogusevic hit back-to-back doubles to make it 3-1 in the eighth.
NOTES: The Cubs designated RHP Shawn Camp for assignment and optioned LHP Chris Rusin to Triple-A Iowa, making room for RHP Matt Guerrier, acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and RHP Pedro Strop, part of the deal that sent RHP Scott Feldman to the Baltimore Orioles. Chicago manager Dale Sveum called designating Camp “not my finest day as a manager.” ... Colon is the A’s first pitcher of the month since Dan Haren in May 2007. ... Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field on Saturday. ... A’s RHP Jarrod Parker (hamstring) had his start pushed back to Saturday. RHP Dan Straily (4-2, 5.00 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make Thursday’s start. ... LHP Travis Wood (5-6, 2.85 ERA) starts for the Cubs. He’s 0-3 in his last five starts. ... The A’s drew a sellout crowd of 35,067 on fireworks night despite an ongoing BART strike. ... Soriano has 37 RBIs in his last 50 games.