Cespedes hit a one-out triple over Andy Dirks' head in the second but Oakland was unable to drive him in.
Leyland went with Dirks in left over Jhonny Peralta, who made the playoff roster a week after completing a 50-game suspension for ties to the Biogenesis lab accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs. Peralta lined out as a pinch hitter in the ninth.
Colon had hoped for a triumphant return to the playoff stage eight years after his last appearance with the Angels. The right-hander's 10 hits allowed were his most in 10 career postseason starts.
Colon, who wasn't part of the A's playoffs last season while serving a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test, won 18 games this season but couldn't break out of his decade-long funk against the Tigers.
The burly right-hander is winless — going 0-8 — in 14 starts against the Tigers since a victory on April 13, 2003.
"Bartolo threw an outstanding game," catcher Stephen Vogt said. "He made a couple of mistakes early and they took advantage."
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