• Hero: Contreras (9-16), who allowed only three runs and one walk, striking out three.
• Turning point: Chicago backed Contreras up with a four-run third highlighted by Jermaine Dye's two-run hit, a sharp single to center off Colon.
• Hunt for October: The Angels' magic number remained at nine to wrap up the club's third division title since 2004.
• Quotable: "I think you learn from everything. Hopefully, I can learn from tonight and try to have some good at-bats."
-- Thome, who went hitless in four at-bats
-- ESPN.com news services
White Sox 5, Angels 3
Thome had to wait at least one more day to reach the milestone, while Colon's search for another victory resumed with his return from the disabled list.
"I never thought I'd say this, but I would have been probably happy if he would have gotten it off of me, only because of what he did for me, and what he and his wife mean to me," Colon, Thome's teammate in Cleveland, said through an interpreter. "He is one of the best examples for all ballplayers, not only what he does on the field but also off the field."
Thome hit No. 499 on Wednesday against the Indians. He struck out in the first against Colon (6-7), got robbed of a hit in the third when first baseman Casey Kotchman made a diving stop of his grounder and struck out again the fourth. Against reliever Ervin Santana in the sixth, he popped out on a 3-0 pitch.
Fans greeted Thome with loud cheers each time he stepped to the plate, hoping to see the slugger become the 23rd major leaguer to reach 500.
"There's a lot of adrenalin that goes with it," said Thome, who had 25 relatives and friends in the crowd. "It was a neat experience, it really was. I think you learn from everything. Hopefully, I can learn from tonight and try to have some good at-bats."
Sidelined about seven weeks with an irritated right elbow, Colon was shaky and had little help from his teammates. He lasted 4 2/3 innings in his first start since July 23, allowing five runs -- three earned -- and eight hits while striking out four and walking two. He is 0-5 in his last seven starts, and has not won since beating Cincinnati on June 14.
"Physically, I think everything came out fine," Colon said. "I felt a little bit in my elbow but nothing compared to what I felt before I went on the DL. My breaking ball was the best that I've had through the whole season."
Jose Contreras (9-16) scattered 11 hits over 7 1/3 innings but held the AL West leaders to three runs. He improved to 3-0 in his last four starts after losing his previous nine decisions as a starter.
"It's frustrating because when the team needed me the most, when we were in the fight, that's when I was going through my toughest moment," Contreras said through an interpreter. "I'm glad I'm pitching well now, but we're out of the fight. ... One of the reasons we're not competing for the playoffs is the fact that I did not do my job during that run."
Maicer Izturis' RBI single put the Angels ahead in the first, but the White Sox took a 4-1 lead in the third. After Kotchman stopped Thome's grounder, Paul Konerko walked to load the bases with two out and Jermaine Dye hit a two-run, broken-bat single. Two more runs came in when A.J. Pierzynski hit a grounder toward third, setting off a chain of errors. Izturis bounced his throw to first, and Kotchman threw wildly trying to get Dye at home.
"That play is my fault," Kotchman said. "I have to come up with that ball. I have to do one of two things: I either have to pick it cleanly or keep it in front. I didn't do either one."
Juan Uribe chased Colon with a run-scoring single in the fifth.
Angels OF Vladimir Guerrero (inflamed right triceps) was relegated to DH duties for a fourth straight game, but manager Mike Scioscia hopes to have his slugger back in right field within the next few days. ... RHP Justin Speier said he has a strained ligament in his right knee, which explains the pain he's been experiencing. ... Chicago's Andy Gonzalez ended an 0-for-23 slide with a single in the fourth.