OAKLAND -- The replay to decide if Chris Young's long ninth-inning drive down the left-field line was fair -- which would have meant a come-from-behind walk-off win for the A's -- or foul -- which would have been a strike -- was a good thing to watch.
After all, the game was in the balance.
Replays of Bartolo Colon's start? They need to be locked away, never to be seen again. His second straight ugly outing was that hideous.
So yeah, even if Young's drive was deemed foul, and he struck out swinging on the next pitch to end the game and Houston escaped with the 5-4 victory, there was more to learn from watching that play again. Because, as Young waxed, um, poetic at his locker after the gut-wrenching loss to the woeful Astros Tuesday night, he summed up Oakland's night thusly:
"It goes from extremely crappy to amazing to unbelievable to crappy again," Young said, without missing a beat. "The full process, all in a three-and-a-half hour period today."
And then some. It all started with Colon getting rocked by the Astros and knocked out after four innings. This after he lasted just 2 1/3 innings at Cincinnati on Wednesday.
"Muy malo," Colon said in Spanish of his last two outings, in which he's compiled a ghastly ERA of 13.50. Very bad.
The 40-year-old Colon is in deep waters, deeper than he's ever been before. With 154 1/3 innings thus far this season, he is just 11 innings away from his most innings pitched in a season since his Cy Young season of 2005.
Is he tiring?
"I never feel tired," he insisted.
"I feel bad because my command was off."
At least his velocity was back up a tick, his fastball in the low 90s after spending most of its time in the high 80s in Cincinnati.
"It just looked like the pitches he left in the middle of the plate today, they hit," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "I don't know if there was as much movement as we've seen before from our vantage point."
Time to worry, then, considering how bad Colon (14-5) has looked lately as he missed in his third straight attempt to become the first pitcher to win at least 15 games with four American League teams?
"The guy has been really good for us this year, and he's had a couple of starts where it hasn't been, at least the velocity hasn't been as good but it looked like it was back up a little bit today," Melvin said. "So, you know, we'll see going forward."
Colon put the A's in a 5-0 hole and they made it interesting with Jesse Chavez and Jerry Blevins shutting down the Astros, a run in the fifth and three more in the eighth, two coming on Yoenis Cespedes' team-leading 19th home run.
And it set the stage for Young, who was looking for a curveball with two out and got one from Astros rookie Chia-Jen Lo, making his sixth career appearance, on an 0-and-1 count and with Stephen Vogt at first after walking with one down.
Young sat on the pitch, but not long enough, and crushed the ball down the line.
"Yeah, I thought it was going to stay true," he said. "I thought it was close. From my point of view, I thought it was fair but I just appreciate the umpires going to check it out."
For you conspiracy theorists out there, Angel Hernandez was the first-base umpire. Doug Eddings was at third base and made the call of foul.
Replays backed him up, though A's fans might have seen the ball just glance the pole, which would have then made it fair, and give Young a walk-off homer and the A's a 6-5 victory.
Alas…the umpires returned from viewing the replay and stuck with Eddings' original ruling.
"If it's foul, it's foul," Young said. "Just go look at it and get it right. And they got it right and we're just inches away from winning a game."
Or, as the other replay would suggest, a better start out of Colon.