After a slow start this year, Bartolo Colon is beginning to earn every penny of his $51 million contract.
Colon (15-11) pitched seven sharp innings to lead the Angels over the Chicago White Sox, 11-0, yesterday in Anaheim. It was his 10th win in 13 decisions after a 5-8 start in his first season with the Angels.
The stocky right-hander, who signed a four-year deal with Anaheim as a free agent last winter after spending 2003 with the White Sox, said his turnaround this season has been mainly a matter of mechanics.
"I made a change to pitch from the first-base side of the mound rather than the middle," Colon said through an interpreter after holding his former team to six hits. "It's much better for running my fastball in and out."
He did that and more against Chicago.
"I was able to throw strikes when I needed, and I didn't even have to go to my fastball to do it," said Colon, who struck out six and walked one. "I could throw all my pitches to either side of the plate.
"I know a lot of guys on that club and they know my pitches, so mixing it up was important."
Chicago's Paul Konerko, who singled and struck out three times, complimented his former teammate.
"With a big lead, he was throwing strikes," Konerko said. "He pounded us. He went right after us."
* ATHLETICS 1, INDIANS 0: Barry Zito struck out 10 for the first time in more than a year and Erubiel Durazo hit his career-high 22nd home run, leading Oakland over visiting Cleveland.
"I think I just found I relaxed a little more," Zito (11-10) said. "I think I put too much pressure on myself early in the year to be dominant."
The A's maintained their two-game AL West lead over Anaheim. Oakland plays its final 20 games against the division, starting tonight with the opener of a four-game series against Texas.
* MARINERS 2, RED SOX 0: Gil Meche pitched a five-hitter for his second career shutout and Raul Ibanez hit a two-run homer to lead Seattle at home.
Shut out for the third time this season, Boston fell 31/2 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. The Red Sox have a five-game lead over Anaheim in the wild-card race.
Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 2 for 4 with singles in the first and eighth, boosting his total to 231 hits this season. With 20 games remaining, Ichiro is batting .374 and needs 27 hits to break the 84-year-old record set by George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns.
* TWINS 8, TIGERS 5: Terry Tiffee, Torii Hunter and Cristian Guzman homered to lead visiting Minnesota to its fifth straight win.
Minnesota (82-60) improved to a season-best 22 games over .500 and ensured its fourth straight winning season. Detroit (64-77) dropped a season-low 13 games under .500 and needs 17 wins in its past 21 games to avoid an 11th straight losing season.
* RANGERS 7, BLUE JAYS 6: In Arlington, Tex., Mark Teixeira homered twice, including a two-run shot in the eighth inning that sent Texas past Toronto for a three-game sweep.
Francisco Cordero made Teixeira's second shot stand up, striking out three batters in the ninth for his team-record 44th save.
* DEVIL RAYS 7, ROYALS 2: Jorge Sosa allowed five hits in seven shutout innings for his first win since July 31, leading Tampa Bay past host Kansas City. The Devil Rays ended an 11-game streak of games with errors, a team record.