So, like the savvy veteran he is, Colon threw Seattle a curve on Friday night. In fact, a lot of curves.
Relying more on off-speed pitches early before turning to his fastball, Colon allowed three hits in seven innings and the A's ruined Seattle's home opener with a 4-0 win.
Making his third start already this season against Seattle, Colon (2-1) rebounded from a shaky effort last time out against the Mariners and beat them for the second time in 2012. His first win over Seattle came during the season-opening, two-game series played in Tokyo when Colon pitched an eight-inning gem. That was followed up by getting pounded for 10 hits and seven earned runs last Saturday by the Mariners.
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Colon knew changes were needed.
"He gave a different look today. Like a veteran guy, he made some adjustments," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "He's calm on the mound and we feel calm around him. If you have someone out there who's nervous and fidgety, the rest of the team feels it."
Colon improved to 10-1 with a 1.91 ERA at Safeco Field in his career. He also picked up his 16th career victory against Seattle, the most of any active pitcher in baseball.
Colon struck out five and walked one and was in control from the start. He retired nine of his first 11 batters, then after Seattle threatened in the fourth inning, set down the final 10 hitters he faced.
"Tried to mix better pitches. Tried to use different pitches - changeup, slider - some like that because it's not easy," Colon said through a translator.
Ryan Cook made things interesting for the A's, starting the eighth with consecutive walks. But he got Chone Figgins to ground into a double play to quell the threat.
While it seemed a good spot for Seattle to bunt and put both runners in scoring position, Mariners manager Eric Wedge was trying for a bigger inning.
"We still have to do more than that. We're not looking just to get back in it when we've only got a few outs left in the game," Wedge said. "You've got to create an inning in that situation."
Seattle's one threat against Colon came in the fourth. Ichiro Suzuki led off with a single and advanced to third on Jesus Montero's two-out hit, only to be stranded when Michael Saunders struck out looking.
Colon retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth, then got a break leading off the seventh. Kyle Seager lined the first pitch into center field. Yoenis Cespedes took a direct path to the sinking liner and made a great diving catch. But on slow-motion television replay, it appeared that Cespedes trapped the sinking liner.
"We have to play that way and they know that," Melvin said. "You've seen a couple of times this year where defensive plays not only make you feel good about yourself and what we've been working on defensively but can change the momentum."
Seattle starter Felix Hernandez was wiggling free of trouble most of the night. Cliff Pennington had an RBI double and Coco Crisp an RBI single in the third. Jemile Weeks hit a solo home run with two outs in the top of the ninth, his second homer of the season.
Hernandez (1-1) gave up just two runs in seven innings but got no help from Seattle's offense. It was the first loss for Hernandez against Oakland since September 18, 2008. He had won his previous six decisions against the A's.
Oakland's rally in the fourth started with a broken-bat single by Daric Barton that bounded into right field. He advanced to second on a weak groundout and then jogged home on Pennington's one-hop double off the wall in deep right-center.
Pennington scored when Crisp singled to left. Figgins bobbled the ball and that allowed Pennington to score when it appeared he was stopping at third. Figgins was not charged with an error.
Oakland added a run in the eighth off Seattle's bullpen on Kurt Suzuki's sacrifice fly.
Former Seattle CF Mike Cameron threw out the ceremonial first pitch and announced before the game he was retiring as a Mariner. Cameron played for Seattle from 2000-03 and signed a ceremonial one-day contract on Friday so that he could retire with the Mariners. ... Colon and Hernandez became the first pitchers since Kevin Brown in 2004 to start the season with three starts against the same team. ... Seattle announced a sellout of more than 46,000 for the opener but empty seats were noticeable in the outfield bleachers and in the 300 level above right field.