Colon wins No. 11 as Angels sink KC

Colon wins No. 11 as Angels sink KC

KANSAS CITY -- Paul Byrd pitched great on Friday night. Bartolo Colon kept the starting pitching momentum going on Saturday.

Colon versus a suspect Royals offense was no match for the first seven innings, and by then the Angels were cruising toward a 5-3 victory at Kauffman Stadium.

Colon took a one-hitter into the eighth when the Royals finally broke through for three runs as Colon began to feel the effects of a viral illness he had experienced a few days ago in Texas. Still, Colon left with a four-hitter through 7 1/3 innings, which allowed him to boost his record to 11-4.

The only real scare for the Angels was seeing Colon walk off the field side-by-side with the trainer. But it was simply a matter of Colon running out of steam.

"He just got zapped by it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He felt like it was going to be tough for him to do in that inning what he needed to do, just because of that viral thing."

Colon, who has won seven of his last eight decisions for the American League West leaders, never let the Royals come up for air until the Angels had built a 5-0 lead.

Now, Colon will wait for Sunday's announcement of the American League All-Star pitching staff. Last year, Colon struggled in the first half and prospered in the second half. This year, a rigorous offseason conditioning and throwing program enabled him to flourish right from the beginning.

"He has had two tough starts -- one against this club and one against New York," Scioscia said. "Other than that, he has been as good as any pitcher in baseball. He has been the lead dog in that rotation and he's an All-Star in my mind. I don't think there is any question. He has been terrific."

Colon ended the evening with a 3.06 ERA. The way the schedule falls, he could have the necessary rest to start in the All-Star Game if he is selected.

For seven innings, the Royals mustered only a Mike Sweeney infield hit against Colon. But in the eighth, Kansas City got to Colon for three hits, including a two-run single by Ruben Gotay.

"Throughout the game, I actually felt pretty good, considering how I had felt over in Texas," Colon said. "But in that [eighth] inning, I had trouble breathing."

Colon retired 19 in a row at one stretch.

"After Sweeney got the infield hit, I was able to bear down," Colon said. "I used my pitches at the right time, especially my changeup and curveball."

Chone Figgins set the tone offensively for the Angels when he led off the game against struggling Kansas City starter Jose Lima with a single and alertly tagged and went to second on a fly ball to center. After Vladimir Guerrero lined out, Garret Anderson's run-scoring double gave Colon an early working margin.

   Bartolo Colon  /   P
Born: 05/24/73
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 240 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

The Angels were down a man coming into this series because of reliever Brendan Donnelly's suspension. But with the starting pitchers wading through the Kansas City hitters, manpower hasn't been an issue.

Colon, who appeared in one All-Star Game during his Cleveland tenure, would love to make a second appearance while wearing an Angels uniform. He'll know soon enough.

"I don't have any control over it, but it would be a great honor," Colon said.

The Angels have started July in high style after a profitable June. Saturday's win was accomplished without a multi-run inning, but Scioscia liked the way his club executed in moving runners, enabling the Angels to scratch out one run at a time. Darin Erstad, Anderson, Guerrero, Maicer Izturis and Dallas McPherson took turns driving in runs, and the Angels slowly but surely built a lead that Kansas City couldn't overcome when Colon ran out of energy.

"This is the Major Leagues and teams like to come back," Figgins said. "But we had built up a pretty good lead and we needed it the way things turned out."

Two games down, one to go for a sweep in Kansas City. Jarrod Washburn gets the ball Sunday, but he'll have to go some to top what Byrd and Colon have done the last two days.

Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.