Angels 9, Royals 4
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Bartolo Colon is determined to have the last laugh on everyone who tormented him early in the season—the fans, the media and the opposing hitters.
Colon allowed just two singles through the first seven innings, helping the Anaheim Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 9-4 Monday night for their sixth straight victory. The right-hander is 8-1 in his last nine starts.
“I can’t blame the fans. I didn’t do the job to begin with,” Colon said through a translator. “I came to a new ballclub and a new organization, and I let them down because I didn’t do the job. So I felt for the fans when I was struggling, but I’m glad things are going better now.”
Colon (13-9) allowed five hits in 7 2-3 innings, including back-to-back homers in the eighth by Calvin Pickering and Aaron Guiel after a leadoff walk to Abraham Nunez. The right-hander struck out six and walked two.
“No one felt it more than Bart did when he was pitching bad,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “But he also had confidence in his talent and his ability. He kept very levelheaded during his rough stretch, kept working hard and taking a game plan out there. He’s certainly turned it on and has pitched some terrific baseball.”
Colon, who threw 111 pitches, made 128 pitches in his previous outing and came within one out of his first complete game this season. But he refused to use that as an excuse for why he hit a wall in the eighth.
“They took advantage of my mistakes in that inning, but I can’t say that I was tired,” Colon said. “I’m used to throwing over 130 pitches. I’ve done it my whole career, so that didn’t affect me at all. I tried to throw a little higher in the strike zone, and that’s when they started getting to me.”
“Today was his day,” said Pickering, who has three homers and eight RBIs in two games since being recalled from the minors. “I don’t think he was overpowering, but he had good stuff and he hit his spots. He made his pitches in situations when he needed to make them.”
Coming off a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium, the Angels won for the 14th time in 18 games and improved to a season-best 17 games over .500 (71-54). They remained a half-game behind first-place Oakland in the AL West and moved within one percentage point of Boston in the wild-card race.
Royals shortstop Angel Berroa, last season’s AL Rookie of the Year, was recalled from Double-A Wichita before the game and went 0-for-4. He was optioned down on Aug. 10 and got a reprieve after going 12-for-42 (.286) in nine games without making an error.
“He knows why we sent him down,” manager Tony Pena said. “This ballclub had not played well the whole year and he wanted to do more than what he was capable of doing. He started pressing and tried to carry the ballclub all by himself, so we sent him down just to get him to relax and come back playing the way he’s capable of playing.”
Darrell May (9-14) allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings, tying Arizona’s Brandon Webb for the most losses in the majors. The left-hander has given up 14 earned runs and 18 hits in seven innings his last two starts.
Guillen and David Eckstein had three hits apiece for the Angels, who broke it open with four runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth after Chone Figgins began the scoring with an RBI single in the fourth.
Eckstein, who drove in the go-ahead run in the third game of the Angels’ four-game sweep at Kansas City two weeks ago with a suicide squeeze in the ninth inning, bunted up the first-base line for a hit in the fifth after a leadoff walk to Adam Kennedy. One out later, Guerrero drove a 1-2 pitch over the double-decker bullpen in left field for his 28th homer. Guillen followed with his 25th for a 5-0 lead.
The Angels have won nine consecutive games in which their opponent started a left-hander. … May appeared in 34 games with the Angels from 1996-97 and had a 5.47 ERA. … Guiel’s homer ended an 0-for-20 drought. He is 2-for-28 since being recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Aug. 11.
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