Colon extends streak vs. Texas to 12
Solid relief, offense secures right-hander's career dozen
ARLINGTON -- To sustain a streak that stretches the imagination, Bartolo Colon needed some help on Saturday.Riding to the rescue in the seventh inning in front of 36,474 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Scot Shields delivered the two most challenging outs of a 6-3 victory over the Rangers. It pushed the Angels' winning streak to four games and ran Colon's mastery of Texas to 12 wins in his past 12 starts. "You love those situations, but at the same time, it's definitely not a spot you want to be in, if you know what I mean," Shields said, grinning. Shields was referring to the prospect of facing Michael Young and Mark Teixeira with the bases loaded, while protecting a 5-3 lead for Colon, who'd departed having yielded three earned runs on five hits and two walks across six innings, striking out six. Shields, having walked Kenny Lofton behind singles by Nelson Cruz and Gerald Laird against Dustin Moseley, got ahead of Young 0-2 in the count. One of the game's most respected clutch hitters, Young stroked a line drive that second baseman Erick Aybar reached moving to his left, relying on his remarkably swift feet and hands. This guy is as quick as Floyd Mayweather. "I dropped down sidearm," Shields said, "something I do every once in a while, and I got lucky. He hit it pretty good, but Aybar was right there with those quick hands." Next came Teixeira, whose two-run blast in the fourth inning got the Rangers back in a game the Angels threatened to run away with when they scored five times in the first two innings. "I got ahead 0-2 with two fastballs," Shields said of his encounter with the dangerous Teixeira, "and I threw a slider, or slurve. I tried to bounce it, but I left it over the plate. It had enough movement and was in a good enough spot that I was able to strike him out. "I made it tough on myself when I walked Lofton with two of the best hitters in the game coming up behind him. I've given up a few [inherited runners] this year, and that upsets me. To be able to keep them out there for Bartolo and for Moseley, that felt really good." Shields felt strong enough to give manager Mike Scioscia another inning, getting through the eighth after Aybar reacted to a bad hop on Sammy Sosa's grounder to get the first out. "[Aybar's] so quick and covers so much area over there -- he's really been playing the heck out of second base," said Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman, who delivered a pair of hits, driving in one run and scoring another. "That's one of the real strengths of our team, our depth. We have a lot of guys who can play, and they're showing it." Case in point: Reggie Willits. The leadoff man singled twice, scored twice and hurled his body into a wall to get the first of Colon's 18 outs. Between his two hits in the first and second innings, Willits showed his athletic ability and toughness in left field. Playing shallow with Lofton leading off, Willits broke quickly on his twisting drive and ran it down, crashing against the wall. Holding son Jaxon's hand in the clubhouse after the game, Willits modestly called it "a play that should have been made." By a Gold Glover, he neglected to add. His right knee met the chain-link fence, causing some swelling. "Out of the chute, for Reggie to take a sure double or triple away from Kenny -- that was huge," Scioscia said. "You saw two terrific plays out there -- [Brad] Wilkerson's was outstanding, too." Wilkerson crashed into the wall to take extra bases from Orlando Cabrera, who would have had a four-hit game if not for the great play. The Rangers, however, were uneven defensively -- their three errors helping the Angels to their sixth victory in their past eight road games and Colon to a 4-0 record. He hasn't lost to the Rangers since 2003. Pedro Martinez is the only other active pitcher to notch wins in 12 straight decisions against one club, beating Seattle 12 straight times from 1998-2004. The Angels scored twice in the first against 6-foot-7 Kameron Loe, who fell to 1-3. Singles by Willits and Cabrera and an intentional walk to Vladimir Guerrero preceded Gary Matthews Jr.'s sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Kotchman. With two outs in the second, Chone Figgins walked and Willits singled. Figgins scored on right-fielder Nelson Cruz's throwing error. Cabrera delivered a double to score Willits and Guerrero doubled home Cabrera. Colon retired nine of the first 10 Rangers before Young walked to lead off the fourth and Teixeira launched his fifth homer of the season. Colon yielded an RBI single to Sosa in the sixth, and the bullpen nailed it down.
Francisco Rodriguez got the last three outs for his 12th save in 13 chances.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.