Bartolo Colon thinks he’s found the solution to his latest problems.
Colon was 0-4 with a 5.86 ERA over his previous seven starts, including a career-high four straight losses, before White Sox manager Jerry Manuel reminded the hard-throwing right-hander to use his fastball more.
The result was an efficient effort in a 5-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.
“I mentioned to him that if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” Manuel said.
Colon gave up two runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings, struck out four and walked none. He retired 17 straight during one stretch and took a shutout into the eighth.
“He came out and established that fastball and kept the heat on all day,” Manuel said of Colon. “This is the guy that we’ve been hoping to have all year long.”
This has to be bad news for the Devil Rays, whom Colon has dominated in his career. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.68 ERA in eight starts against Tampa Bay.
Rocco Baldelli homered and drove in four runs as the Devil Rays beat the White Sox 10-6 on Saturday, snapping Chicago’s eight-game winning streak.
Tampa Bay is 11-11 in July, and is trying to finish at least .500 in a month for the first time since going 14-13 in September 2001.
“It would be huge to finish July with a winning record,” Baldelli said. “We can’t change May and June, but we can build something the rest of the way.”
STANDINGS: Devil Rays - 5th place, 26 GB, AL East. White Sox - 2nd place, 4 GB, AL Central.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Joe Kennedy (3-7, 5.82 ERA). Kennedy is 2-2 with a 6.00 ERA in four career starts against the White Sox. He is winless over his last six starts overall, going 0-4 with a 6.18 ERA. The 24-year-old left-hander allowed three runs and six hits with eight strikeouts in eight innings of a 3-1 loss to Anaheim on Tuesday.
WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Colon (7-9, 4.25 ERA). Colon is 4-5 with a 4.99 ERA at U.S. Cellular Field this season. Opponents are hitting .311 against Colon in four July starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Devil Rays - Baldelli, .306 avg. and 55 runs; Aubrey Huff, 18 HRs and 57 RBIs; Carl Crawford, 27 SBs. White Sox - Magglio Ordonez, .315 avg. and 60 runs; Frank Thomas, 24 HRs; Carlos Lee, 66 RBIs; Lee and Willie Harris, 9 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Devil Rays, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Devil Rays - OF Huff is 4-for-6 with a home run and two doubles against RHP Colon. … OF Crawford is batting .363 in July, raising his average 23 points to .276. … OF Baldelli is 5-for-13 with four runs scored and five RBIs over the last three games. White Sox - 1B/DH Paul Konerko is 6-for-9 with a home run and four RBIs against LHP Kennedy. … 1B Thomas is four hits shy of 2,000 for his career. … RHP Matt Ginter was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte Saturday. Ginter was 3-2 with 13 saves and a 2.87 ERA in 39 relief appearances.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devil Rays - 15-34 on the road; White Sox - 33-19 at home.
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