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Colon wins 18th, but leaves with back injury

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Bartolo Colon knew he couldn't last long
against the Seattle Mariners, so he made the most of his
injury-shortened outing.

Colon earned his AL-leading 18th win despite leaving with a sore
back in the sixth inning, and Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer
in the Los Angeles Angels' 5-3 victory Sunday.

"It's been four days of pain," Colon said through a
translator. "I knew I could pitch and get the team through five
innings. I feel like I had good stuff. I was staying on top of the
pitches because I couldn't bend over."

Casey Kotchman hit a three-run homer, a double and a single for
the Angels, who began the day tied with Oakland atop the AL West.

"Casey gave us a big lift," manager Mike Scioscia said.

Colon (18-6) allowed two runs and five hits in five-plus
innings, struck out five and walked none. He came out because of
tightness in his lower back, but the right-hander still won his
career-best seventh consecutive decision.

"It feels very tight," said Colon, who received electrical
stimulation before the game. "The last four days it's been getting
real tight on me. Massage should take care of it."

Esteban Yan, Brendan Donnelly and Scot Shields combined to work
three innings before Francisco Rodriguez finished for his 34th save
in 39 chances.

Los Angeles staked Colon to a 5-0 lead, and he responded by
retiring 12 of his first 13 batters to help the Angels take two of
three in the series.

"They got me five runs and that was enough," Colon said.

He gave up three straight singles to open the fifth before
retiring the next three batters. The Mariners scored once in the
inning on an RBI single by Jose Lopez to cut it to 5-1.

Scioscia wanted Colon to quit after the fifth, but the pitcher
declined. He gave up a triple to Jeremy Reed to start the sixth
before bowing out. Reed scored on a groundout by Richie Sexson to
make it 5-2.

"It didn't look like he was able to get after it the way he
needs to," Scioscia said. "We won't know for a couple days if it
will impact his next start."

Colon was replaced by Yan, who allowed an RBI single to Greg
Dobbs.

The Angels found their offense after being held to three runs or
fewer in eight of their previous 10 games.

Guerrero led off the second inning with a walk and Juan Rivera
singled before Kotchman sent a 3-0 pitch from Jeff Harris (2-2)
into the right-field seats to give the Angels a 3-0 lead.

"I just couldn't find it," Harris said. "It was just one of
those days where things didn't go my way."

Guerrero hit his 28th homer into the left-field seats in the
third for a 5-0 cushion.

"Obviously, we didn't hit our spots," Mariners manager Mike
Hargrove said. "There were more than a few at-bats this series
where we pitched him where we wanted to and we got him out."

Harris gave up five runs and six hits in three innings. He
walked one and didn't record a strikeout in his fourth major league
start. The right-hander had a two-game winning streak snapped.

Game notes
Guerrero's last five homers have come against the Mariners,
and nine of his 20 hits against them this season are homers. ...
Colon is 10-1 after an Angels loss. They were beaten 6-3 Saturday
night. ... The Angels lead the season series 9-6, with a 3-6 mark
at home. ... Los Angeles has 12 homers in its last 19 games.