While Bartolo Colon has enjoyed great success so far this season, he will try to end nearly four years of futility against Detroit as the surging Los Angeles Angels continue their four-game series with the Tigers on Wednesday.
Colon (5-0, 3.69 ERA), who missed most of last season with a partially torn right rotator cuff, is enjoying his longest winning streak since reeling off eight consecutive victories from Aug. 2-Sept. 10, 2005. He was efficient Thursday at Seattle, allowing three runs in seven innings in a 7-3 victory over the Mariners.
“I never thought he’d be 5-0 after coming back from that injury,” Angels catcher Jose Molina said. “But he’s awesome. He’s a winner.”
Although Colon has a 145-87 lifetime record, he entered this season a combined 40-29 in the months of April and May and usually gathers his momentum after the All-Star break, when he is 73-37 lifetime.
He is 8-8 with a 5.03 ERA in 20 lifetime starts against the Tigers, but has not beaten them since April 13, 2003. Colon - 4-3 with a 5.71 ERA in nine lifetime starts at Comerica Park - is 0-5 with a 7.22 ERA in seven outings since that last win, but he also did not face Detroit in 2006.
The Angels’ season-high six-game win streak has helped them open a 5 1/2-game lead over Oakland and Seattle in the AL West. Los Angeles (28-18) posted its 11th win in its last 13 games with a 6-3 victory Tuesday that was marked by stellar defensive plays from center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. and shortstop Orlando Cabrera.
“Tough play because there’s no one backing me up,” Matthews said. “You either catch it or you’ve got the Detroit Invitational breaking out with everybody running.”
Cabrera, who hit a two-run homer in the third, ended the game with a leaping catch of a line drive by Carlos Guillen that would have scored two runs.
“O.C. ending the game like that was kind of appropriate tonight,” said Lackey.
The Tigers (27-17) were stymied in their bid for a fourth consecutive victory and stranded 11 runners, losing for just the second time in their last 11 games at Comerica Park.
“We battled them ‘til the end,” said Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield. “We hit some balls hard, but they played great defense. We just came up short.”
Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez homered and had two RBIs. He has hit safely in five consecutive games, going 8-for-19 (.421) with eight runs and two homers in that span.
Chad Durbin (3-1, 4.67) gets another chance to extend his personal winning streak to four games after struggling in his last outing. The right-hander allowed only two runs in 5 1-3 innings, but walked five and threw 109 pitches before being lifted in Detroit’s 4-2 loss to Boston on Thursday.
He is 0-2 with a 3.05 ERA in three starts against the Angels, but this will be his first appearance against them since Sept. 5, 2001.