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Colon becomes AL's first 17-game winner

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Bartolo Colon stood on the mound, one out away
from pitching a complete game. He wanted to finish what he started,
but was too tired to mount a convincing argument.

Besides, his main objective was to get another win for the Los
Angeles Angels, and in that regard, the night was a resounding
success.

Colon allowed five hits in 8 2-3 innings to earn his American
League-leading 17th victory, and the Angels used a three-run fifth
to beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 Wednesday night.

Colon (17-6) improved to 6-0 in his last seven starts since July
16, and moved him closer to becoming the Angels' first 20-game
winner since Nolan Ryan in 1974.

"I can't recall where I've had a stretch like I'm having right
now," Colon said through an interpreter.

After Rafael Palmeiro hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning,
Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia summoned Francisco Rodriguez, who
retired Javy Lopez for his 30th save.

"Anytime you get that close to completing the game, you want to
complete the game," Colon said. "Mike came over and asked me,
'How do you feel?' I was a little fatigued. He said he didn't want
to take any chances."

Colon threw 104 pitches, not an alarming number, but enough to
get Scioscia to take notice.

"Even though the pitch count was down, it was a little steamy
out there and he was working hard to get where he was," the
manager said. "He said he felt he was getting a little tired."

Rodriguez, who needed only four pitches to seal the win,
credited Colon for putting him position for the easy save.

"He was awesome. He is one of the greatest pitchers,"
Rodriguez said, "and I'm happy for the way he performed tonight."

Bengie Molina had two hits and drove in a run for the Angels,
who got all the offense they needed in the fifth inning against
Erik Bedard (6-5).

It was their fifth straight road win, tying their season high.

Melvin Mora's ninth-inning double was the only extra-base hit
for Baltimore, which has lost five straight. The Orioles have been
held to one run in three of their last four games.

"It's been a failure to get one guy hot," interim manager Sam
Perlozzo said. "You've got nine guys in the lineup; you don't
expect nine guys to scuffle. Somebody's got to swing the bat
somewhere in there, and that hasn't happened to us in the second
half."

Palmeiro returned after missing five games with a sprained right
ankle. He went 0-for-3 with the sacrifice fly and is 2-for-11 in
three games since returning Aug. 11 from a 10-day suspension for
using steroids.

Palmeiro certainly isn't the only batter in the lineup
struggling to get on base. The Orioles thought they might get back
in contention after a three-game sweep in Oakland last week, but
now time's running out.

"Sooner or later, we're going to get their hits," Perlozzo
said. "But we need them sooner than later right now."

Los Angeles wasted several scoring opportunities before going up
3-0 in the fifth. After Orlando Cabrera drew a leadoff walk and
Vladimir Guerrero received an intentional walk with one out, Garret
Anderson, Molina and Robb Quinlan hit RBI singles.

Baltimore got runners on first and second with no outs in the
fifth and sixth, but the Angels turned two line drives into double
plays to quell the threats.

"We caught a break with those two balls," Scioscia said.
"They were hit right at people and we turned them into double
plays."

Bedard allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings. The
left-hander is 1-4 in eight starts since leaving the disabled list
on July 18.

The Angels put runners in scoring position in the second and
third innings but failed to score. In the fourth, Molina hit a
leadoff double and Juan Rivera followed with single, but Bedard
again escaped without allowing a run.

Baltimore had only one baserunner over the first four innings --
Luis Matos, who hit a third-inning single.

Game notes
LA's Darin Erstad extended his hitting streak to 11 games
with a third-inning single. ... Baltimore's Sammy Sosa got the
night off. He's 5-for-47 in his last 13 games.