SEATTLE (AP) — If not getting better with age, Bartolo Colon is coming close to matching his best years.
Colon outpitched Felix Hernandez to reach 18 wins for the fifth time in his career, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer in the first inning and the Oakland Athletics beat Seattle 6-2 Friday night to clinch home-field advantage for the AL division series starting next week.
Colon (18-6) became the first major leaguer in his 40s to win 18 games or more since Jamie Moyer was 21-7 for Seattle in 2003. The 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed two runs and three hits for the AL West champions, including solo home runs by Franklin Gutierrez in the first and Kendrys Morales in the sixth.
"It's pretty phenomenal especially as consistent as he's been," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Eighteen wins, that's pretty phenomenal for anybody, let alone a 40-year-old."
Colon's 2.65 ERA is second in the AL behind the 2.64 of Detroit's Anibal Sanchez, scheduled to start Saturday at Miami.
"He's unbelievable and he is very fun to play behind because it's strikes all day," Moss said.
Colon was suspended for the A's postseason run last season after testing positive for elevated testosterone. Colon thinks he could have boosted Oakland during its five-game loss to Detroit last October and is eager to pitch in the playoffs again.
"I can help the team a lot," Colon said through a translator.
Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour completed the four-hitter. Coco Crisp went 4 for 5 with a run scored, his third four-hit game this year.
Oakland (95-65) remained two games back of Boston (97-63) with two games left in the race for best record in the AL and home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
"That's key. That's something we were really looking and hoping to do," Melvin said. "We were able to do that today. We know we're going home. We know we're going to be home for a week, and that's a good thing."
Hernandez (12-10) finished the season with his fewest wins since going 9-11 in 2008. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs and five hits in six innings with six strikeouts and a walk, retiring 13 of his final 14 batters.
"I needed to throw a lot more strikes," he said. "I was all over the place the first two innings. After the third I was just trying to throw strikes and finish the hitters."