Then the eighth inning arrived, and Axelrod allowed back-to-back doubles to A's catcher John Jaso and right fielder Josh Reddick. Goodbye shutout, and goodbye three-game winning streak, as the A's rolled to a 3-0 victory at the O.co Coliseum.
Axelrod came away with nothing but a loss to show for what had the makings of the game of his life. Actually, nothing but a loss and the thrill of matching zeroes with the 40-year-old Colon, a former American League Cy Young Award winner and an ex-White Sox pitcher.
Colon pitched a five-hit shutout, struck out three and walked none. Axelrod allowed four hits and two runs over seven innings, striking out seven and walking none.
"He's a good one," Axelrod, 27, said of Colon. "It was fun. It seemed like both of us didn't have much rest on the bench. It was fun. He was out there for a few and I was out there. I can't ask for anything more. It was just one of those things at the end there."
Jaso hit a good pitch, a cutter that started off the plate and came back over the corner, for an opposite-field double that one-hopped off the left-field fence. Reddick hit a mistake, a breaking ball that hung, pulling it to deep right and bouncing it off the wall.
"I threw it where I wanted to," Axelrod said of his pitch to Jaso. "So tip my cap to him. It was a good job. Surprised he hit that well to the opposite field. So tip my cap to him on that one. It was a backdoor cutter. It was off and came back to the corner, and he stayed on it real well."
For most of the night, Axelrod kept the A's off balance, mixing his pitches well and baffling them with a big, slow curveball.
"I kept them off balance and moved it around," Axelrod said. "Pretty efficient with my pitches. I'm definitely happy about that. Tough in the end. It's just one of those days where you've got to be precise the whole time. I made a mistake to Reddick at the end."
Axelrod had strung together three straight wins before Friday, beating Minnesota, Boston and Miami. He pitched well enough Friday to win on most nights.
"He was good. He just wasn't as good as theirs," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's probably one of the better games Ax pitched until he gave up a couple of hits. Bartolo was throwing great."