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Colon wins 14th game, Athletics defeat Angels

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- When A's right-hander Bartolo Colon gave up a monstrous two-run homer to Angels center fielder Mike Trout with no outs in the top of the first inning Friday, it looked as if he could be in for a tough night.

In this case, looks were deceiving.

Colon held the Angels to those two runs on seven hits over six innings and led the A's to a 6-4 victory at the O.co Coliseum. He improved to 14-3 and moved into a three-way tie with Detroit's Max Scherzer and Tampa Bay's Matt Moore for the most wins in the majors.

Not bad for a 40-year old who keeps turning back the clock.

"I wouldn't have thought this," Colon said. "I have surprised myself right now because I didn't know I was going to share the lead with the other pitchers. I am proud."

Colon, who threw a four-hit shutout against the Angels on Sunday at Anaheim, wasn't at his best, but the A's gave him more than enough offensive support to beat the Angels and even their four-game series with a win apiece. A's shortstop Jed Lowrie hit a solo homer in the first inning off Angels right-hander Jerome Williams, went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs. Catcher Stephen Vogt, who was called up Thursday from Triple-A Sacramento, added some insurance in the sixth, crushing a two-run shot off reliever Michael Kohn.

After Trout's homer, the A's answered with one run in the bottom of the first and three in the second to take control.

"I think it's big for momentum to let them know we're not going anywhere," Lowrie said.

The Angels scored twice in the ninth, cutting the A's lead to 6-4 on Albert Pujols' two-run, two-out single off closer Grant Balfour. But Balfour stuck out Josh Hamilton swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game and earn his 27th save.

The A's extended their lead in the American League West to four games over Texas, and the Angels fell to 11 games back.

Colon is 10-1 since turning 40 on May 24. He's now 8-1 overall in starts following an A's loss and has seven straight wins in his role as a stopper. For the 14th straight start, Colon pitched at least six innings and allowed three or fewer runs.

"Bartolo pitched a good game for those guys, but I really thought we hit the ball hard," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think we had a little better offensive night in the batter's box against Bart than some of the numbers are going to show. Had a lot of hard balls hit at guys. He made some pitches to get out of some jams and got through six innings for them.

"We just couldn't overcome Jerome not being able to get out of the second inning. He had two outs and a guy on third and a chance to get out of that inning with no damage and ended up giving up three runs."

Williams lost his fifth straight decision, allowing four runs on six hits over five innings. He struck out three, walked two and threw 103 pitches, 65 for strikes. He's 0-5 with an 8.37 ERA over his past eight starts.

"It's been tough, but all I can do is look at positives, not the negatives, and feed off the positives," Williams said. "I feel like I'm going in the right direction. I just didn't execute a couple pitches and I got hurt on them."

Colon gave up a home run to Trout in the first after falling behind 3-1.

"When you're behind in the count you always have to pay for something," Colon said. "In this case I was behind and tried to throw the ball right there to be ahead, and I threw the fastball right there and paid with the homer."

After that, the Angels never cashed in against Colon again.

"It's fun to watch him just put the ball around the zone and move the ball in and out," Vogt said. "He's just got so much knowledge and experience to bring to the table. He knows what pitch to throw and when and how to throw it and manipulate it. He really is special."

NOTES: Angels 2B Howie Kendrick was out of the lineup Friday night against Oakland for just the third time this season. Tommy Field made his first start as an Angel. Scioscia said Kendrick is fine physically but that he wanted to give him some rest, especially with a 12:05 p.m. game scheduled for Saturday. "Just a day off. We've got a quick turnaround," Scioscia said. "He's been playing a lot, and he'll be back in there tomorrow." ... Infielder Brendan Harris, who was designated for assignment by the Angels on July 20, signed a minor league contract with the Yankees, who assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
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