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OAK@LAA: Colon turns an inning-ending double play

ANAHEIM -- An often-anemic A's offense looked the part Tuesday against a pitcher who has all too often dominated Oakland.

Right-hander Ervin Santana posted 7 2/3 scoreless innings, easily navigating his way around Oakland's starting nine en route to picking up his 14th career victory against the A's, who dropped a 4-0 decision to settle on a two-game series split with the Halos.

Santana allowed just four hits, retiring 16 straight at one point and fanning nine to three walks in a backdrop of shadows -- the result of a rare 4 p.m. PT start -- that made for a doubly difficult time for the green and gold.

"He pitched well today, used his breaking ball quite a bit, especially when the shadows came into play, which certainly makes sense because it's tough to see the spin," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

"He's probably the perfect guy, not that they planned it, to be out there pitching in that, because he has several different pitches, throws hard and has several that are late-breaking," Seth Smith said. "You can't see them all that well."

Smith was responsible for ending one of the club's only threats of the day, as he struck out with the bases loaded, two innings before pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes grounded out with runners at the corners and two outs to end the eighth.

Overall, the A's went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in a lull of a game, which marked the fifth time this season they have been shut out and came on the heels of a two-game set in Texas that begins Wednesday. The five shutouts are second most in the Majors to the Halos' eight.

As a result, run support was missing for A's starter Bartolo Colon, who allowed four runs on a season-high 12 hits through 6 2/3 innings. Colon, who walked none and struck out three, has not appeared in the win column since April 18.

That date coincided with a meeting with the Angels, who were held off the board for eight innings in that game. This time, they got to Colon early, posting two runs against the veteran right-hander in the third, courtesy of back-to-back RBI hits from Alberto Callaspo and Albert Pujols, before adding on in the fifth and seventh.

Pujols, who has tallied 11 of his 31 hits against the A's, collected his second RBI of the day in the fifth, and Mike Trout's leadoff homer to center field in the seventh extended the Angels' lead to four.

The solo shot represented one of just a few hard-hit balls off Colon, whose velocity was back to normal following an ugly performance five days prior that saw him surrender seven earned runs in less than three innings.

"I thought he pitched good," catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "Today it seemed like he had a lot more life on his fastball, a lot more crispness, and his location was better."

But the Angels did just enough homework to beat him.

"I don't know if he was as sharp as when we saw him the first outing," Halos manager Mike Scioscia said. "We saw some scouting video on Bart and he was over the heart of the plate his last start and had trouble, and today, he wasn't that far off, and we did a good job of when we got a ball to hit, we put it in play hard and found some holes for once."

The four runs almost matched the five the Angels had compiled total in their four-game losing streak to the A's before Tuesday -- not that Santana, who sticks to a simple plan, needed that many.

"I felt great today," the righty said. "Everything was very good. I had great command today. Just throwing strikes. Just trying to get ahead every time and see what happens."

Said Suzuki: "It's not a good time to play a ballgame, that's for sure. But they had to deal with it, and they did the job. The bottom line is they got the hits when they needed to and Santana pitched a good game. They played better than us today."

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