At the halfway point of the season, several things are clear about the Oakland A's:

-- Last year was no fluke; they are for real.

-- Bartolo Colon, at 40, must be an All-Star. Age and size mean virtually nothing when it comes to the A's portly right-hander, who allowed just one run in eight innings in the A's 6-1 victory over one of the National League's best teams, the Cardinals. Oakland improved to 47-34, the team's best record at the midpoint since 1992 (48-33).

Colon recorded his 11th win of the season, tied for second most in the majors. He has won eight consecutive starts, allowing just nine runs in that span and putting up an ERA of 1.37. The other year in which Colon won 11 games before the All-Star break was 2005, when he won the Cy Young Award. He is the first pitcher to win his first seven starts after turning 40.

"I feel really good," Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I'm going to try to keep like that and help make the team win every time on the mound."

The A's batted around in scoring five runs in the second inning, but the best moment of the night for Oakland might have come from new addition Stephen Vogt. The catcher, after going hitless in his first 32 big-league at-bats, recorded his first hit - a home run into the seats down the right-field line in the fourth inning.

"It's pretty neat for my first hit to be a home run. That's special, but I would have taken a swinging bunt," Vogt said.

Vogt sprinted around the bases in near-Adam Rosales fashion. When he got to the dugout, he was greeted with silence, his teammates sitting stone-faced. They couldn't stand more than a moment or two of that, and erupted, charging forward for backslaps and fist-bumps.

Colon called it "that funny thing we did in the dugout," and he was still grinning about it hours later.

"Greatest thing in the world," Vogt said of his reception. "It's great to have this team adopt me in three days."

According to the A's, 5-year-old Richard Vega of San Jose returned the ball and requested only another ball in return. For the A's, accustomed to grander demands, this was a breath of fresh air, and equipment manager Steve Vucinich said the team was trying to get him something more for his thoughtfulness.