Angels 2, Indians 0
Colon (3-1) threw 115 pitches, striking out six and walking two. The former Indians right-hander, who allowed 68 home runs over the past two seasons, has given up only one homer in 27 2-3 innings through his first four starts.
“This is more a result of Bart feeling much stronger and having much more consistency so far this season than he had during that rough spell last year,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “When you challenge guys, it’s inevitable you’re going to give up home runs. It hasn’t happened yet, but Bart’s going to stay aggressive.
“The important thing is to make pitches, and that’s where Bart’s focus is.”
Westbrook (0-4) went the distance for Cleveland, allowing two runs and five hits in eight innings with four strikeouts and two walks.
“He had his cutter and sinker going, so he didn’t have to throw a lot of breaking pitches,” Angels designated hitter Jeff DaVanon said. “That makes him especially tough. He had a lot of guys guessing tonight.”
Westbrook again was the victim of poor run support from his teammates. They have scored only three runs in the right-hander’s four starts, after averaging 6.5 runs per nine innings for him last season.
“That’s the way it is. When you’re the No. 1 starter, you’re not going to face too many No. 4s and No. 5s,” Cleveland’s Alex Cora said. “But the good thing about it is that he’s giving us a chance to win, so he should be proud of what he’s doing. He’s matching all these aces pitch by pitch. There’s a lot of games to play, so I think it’s going to even out.”
No one in Cleveland’s starting lineup was on the Indians’ roster when Colon last pitched for them—except for first baseman Ben Broussard, who was called up from the minors five days before Colon was traded to Montreal on June 27, 2002.
“Being on this team, it’s quite easy to forget about the Indians because a lot of my friends aren’t there anymore,” Colon said through a translator. “But the good memories come from the fact that I wore that uniform at one point.”
After stranding 13 baserunners and squandering two bases-loaded, no-out situations in Tuesday’s 6-5 loss at Kansas City, Cleveland left a runner at second base in two of the first three innings against the Angels. No one else got past first base against Colon, who retired 15 of his last 17 batters.
“When Colon is changing speeds the way he was doing tonight and getting ahead of hitters, you’re in for a tough battle,” Cora said. “He’s their ace, and that’s what No. 1s do. They dominate.”
Colon came within three outs of his first complete game since Sept. 27, 2002, and his first shutout since Aug. 19, 2002. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his third save.
It was Rodriguez’s first outing in five days. The Angels’ new closer hasn’t had much work this season due to the lack of save opportunities.
“Frankie needed to pitch because it had been awhile,” Scioscia said. “And with the game where it was, it was the move to make. Once Bart got up to 115 pitches, it was time to give the middle of their lineup a different look.”
Casey Blake, who didn’t start Tuesday for the fourth time in five games because of a tight hamstring, returned to the Cleveland lineup and went 1-for-4. … Travis Hafner, who hit five home runs in a two-day span last July when the Indians were in Anaheim, has not homered in his first 49 at-bats after hitting 28 in 2004. … The Indians have played five straight errorless games, after committing at least one error in each of their first 10. … Westbrook’s five complete games last season were the most by a Cleveland pitcher since 1998, when Colon had six. … Blake, whose 26 errors last season were the most by any third baseman, is making a successful transition to RF this season and has played errorless ball in his 11 starts there. … The Indians came in hitting just .239 with runners in scoring position.