Bartolo Colon is the ace of the Angels’ rotation, and he lived up to that label his last time out.
Colon looks to turn in another strong outing as Los Angeles hosts the Cleveland Indians in the opener of a two-game series.
Colon allowed one earned run and two hits in seven innings of Friday’s 6-1 win over the Barry Zito and the Oakland Athletics. The Dominican right-hander rebounded nicely from a rough outing against the Kansas City Royals on April 10, when he allowed six earned runs and 11 hits in six innings of an 8-3 loss.
“Because I’m on the top of the rotation, I feel that I have a responsibility to pitch well,” he said.
Colon retired the side in order in six of the seven innings he pitched. However, he felt a twinge in his left ankle in the third inning and again in the sixth, and the Angels decided to err on the side of caution. Colon skipped his bullpen session on Monday.
The win was Colon’s 69th since 2001, tying him with Roger Clemens for the third-most during that span.
“That’s the best I’ve felt this year,” Colon said. “The main reason is every pitch was exactly where I wanted it.”
The Indians lost 6-5 to the Kansas City Royals for their third defeat in five games. Cleveland had 14 hits but stranded 13 runners, failing to score twice with the bases loaded.
“Runners left on base, that’s the story of the game,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “It was ridiculous how many runners we left on base. Guys are swinging the bats better and we created many opportunities. You’d think we could scratch out at least one (hit) here or there.”
Grady Sizemore drove in two runs and every Cleveland starter hit safely.
STANDINGS (through April 18): Indians - 3rd place (tied), 3 GB, AL West. Angels - 1st place (tied), AL West.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Jake Westbrook (0-3, 4.50 ERA). Westbrook allowed three runs, one earned, and three hits in eight innings of Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins—the second one-run game he has lost this season. The 27-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in two career starts against the Angels.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Colon (2-1, 3.66 ERA). Colon started his major league career with the Indians and went 75-45 in parts of six seasons in Cleveland. He is 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in five career starts against his former team—his second-worst ERA against any AL club.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Indians - Alex Cora, .321 avg.; five tied with 2 HRs; Aaron Boone, 8 RBIs; Coco Crisp, 8 runs; Cora, Casey Blake and Sizemore, 2 SBs. Angels - Guerrero, .351 avg., 5 HRs, and 12 runs; Guerrero and Garret Anderson, 12 RBIs, Figgins, 3 SBs.
2004 SEASON SERIES: Indians, 5-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Indians - RHP Westbrook went 7-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 14 appearances, including 12 starts, at home last season. … DH Travis Hafner is 0-for-10 with four strikeouts all-time against RHP Colon. … RHP Rafael Betancourt has allowed just three baserunners in 10 innings of work. Angels - RHP Colon’s appearance Friday was the 250th of his career. … OF Guerrero has homered in three straight games for the 10th time in his career. … The Angels, who led the AL with a .988 fielding percentage entering the game, made two errors Tuesday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Indians - 4-4 on the road. Angels - 4-4 at home.
INJURIES: Indians - RF Jody Gerut (knee), 15-day DL; RF Juan Gonzalez (hamstring), 15-day DL; LHP Jason Stanford (elbow), 60-day DL. Angels - C Bengie Molina (quadriceps), 15-day DL; RHP Kelvim Escobar (elbow), 15-day DL; 2B Adam Kennedy (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Hensley (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Bret Prinz, 15-day DL (shoulder); DH-OF Tim Salmon (knee), 60-day DL.