Angels 8, Red Sox 3

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The way Bartolo Colon’s pitch count was rising, it didn’t look as though he’d be around for the fourth inning—let alone the sixth.

But his teammates made it easier for him to stick around, staking the struggling right-hander to a five-run lead through four, and the Anaheim Angels went on to beat the Boston Red Sox 8-3 Saturday night despite two home runs by Johnny Damon.

“From the start, I always think I’m going eight or nine innings,” Colon said. “After the first two innings, I reduced that to think I could still go seven. I was trying to be a little too fine early, and it cost me a couple of walks.”

Colon (7-8) won his second straight start after going 1-6 with an 8.45 ERA in his previous 10 outings. The right-hander allowed a run and three hits, including the first of Damon’s homers. He struck out one and walked five.

Colon threw 48 pitches in the first two innings, allowing five of his first nine batters to reach base—but still managed to keep the frustrated Red Sox off the board. He walked Mark Bellhorn and David Ortiz on 3-2 counts with one out in the first, then got behind Nomar Garciaparra 2-0 before retiring him on a double-play grounder.

“After the second inning, we just saw better command of his fastball,” pitching coach Bud Black said. “He wasn’t missing by much, and he didn’t give in. Bart can throw a strike when he wants, but he wasn’t missing so terribly that he had to throw the ball right down the middle.”

Gabe Kapler singled with two outs in the second, and Colon walked the next two batters before escaping the bases-loaded jam on Damon’s flyout. He threw just 17 pitches the next two innings—15 for strikes.

“I wish I would have gotten one with the guys on base in the first. That would have been a really great time to get it, but Bartolo pitched well,” Damon said. “He was pitching with a tight strike zone, so he had to go out there and battle. And he did.”

Vladimir Guerrero and Adam Kennedy homered, helping the Angels win for the seventh time in nine games. Darin Erstad and Garret Anderson each hit a two-run single.

Tim Wakefield (5-6) gave up five runs and eight hits in four innings. The Red Sox got a scare in the fourth when Jose Molina led off with a hard line drive that caromed high in the air off the back of Wakefield’s right shoulder blade before shortstop Garciaparra made a juggling catch cutting across the diamond for the out.

“There’s a mark where the ball hit me,” Wakefield said. “I’m just glad it didn’t hit me in the head, because it was coming right at my face. But I was lucky to duck out of the way. I’m just glad we got an out out of it.”

Boston’s knuckleballer stayed in after a couple of warmup tosses, but Kennedy drove his next pitch into the right-field seats for his sixth homer and a 5-0 lead. Wakefield finished the inning, but was replaced in the fifth by Joe Nelson.

“They wanted to take me out at that point,” Wakefield said. “After throwing 80 pitches in four innings, they just didn’t take a chance on me getting stiff sitting in the dugout.

“I’m real stiff now, so I don’t think I would have been as effective in the fifth—even though I wanted to go back out. But it didn’t make any sense because I had to get ready for my next start. I saw the doctor after the game and he wants me to get a CT scan to make sure nothing’s broken.”

The Angels tacked on three runs in the sixth on Jimmy Anderson’s bases-loaded wild pitch and Garret Anderson’s two-run single, which gave him 900 career RBIs. The only other player to drive in that many runs for the Angels is Tim Salmon, whose RBI single in the first left him 14 shy of 1,000.

Erstad’s two-run single came with the bases loaded in the first. Guerrero made it 4-0 in the third with his 21st homer and 78th RBI, temporarily tying Ortiz for the AL lead. All four of Guerrero’s career hits against Wakefield have been home runs.

Damon’s fifth-inning homer was the 28th allowed by Colon—the most in the AL. Damon added his 12th of the season in the eighth off Ramon Ortiz, giving him three multihomer games this year and eight in his career.

Two batters later, David Ortiz homered off his namesake to give him 24 this season and 79 RBIs—taking the AL lead back from Guerrero.

Notes

Boston LF Manny Ramirez, who leads the AL with 26 homers, didn’t start for the second straight game because of hamstring problems. … Angels OF Raul Mondesi reinjured his right quadriceps after his second at-bat Friday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake and will be re-examined Monday by Dr. Lewis Yocum.

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