OAKLAND, Calif. - Bartolo Colon made a final pitch for the AL Cy Young Award.
Colon became the Angels' winningest pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1974, leading Los Angeles over the Oakland Athletics 7-1 on Thursday.
"I don't see much debate," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he's absolutely the Cy Young Award winner. For what he's done for this team, getting us into the playoffs and being the top dog, it's clear to me."
Colon (21-8) gave up one run and five hits in five innings, throwing 80 pitches. He pitched on three days' rest to get on schedule for starting Los Angeles' playoff opener Tuesday.
"This was exactly what I was looking for," Colon said. "It was good to come out of it nice. Working on three days' rest, I put more emphasis on finishing well."
Colon and Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera are viewed as the top contenders for the Cy Young.
I'm not going to add or subtract to my numbers any more so there's nothing I can do about it," Colon said. "It will be welcome and a privilege, and I needed a good team behind me just to be a candidate."
After giving up six runs and 10 hits in five innings against Tampa Bay on Sunday, Colon allowed only one runner past second base. He has the most wins for the Angels since Ryan went 22-16 in 1974, but his ERA is 3.48 and he's allowed 26 home runs, including seven in his last three starts.
Colon is 11-2 following Angels losses. He lost consecutive decisions just once, against Seattle and Minnesota on July 7 and 16.
"There are a lot of good pitchers out there, but Bartolo put together a great year," Angels reliever Kevin Gregg said. "He's been consistent and given us a huge lift. He's kept us on the right track."
Jose Molina homered and drove in three runs, and Robb Quinlan also homered for the AL West champions.
The Angels won their 18th game in September, matching the club record set en route to the 2002 World Series title.
Nick Swisher homered for the A's, who lost three of four in the series and four of five overall.
Barry Zito (14-13) gave up six runs and eight hits in seven innings and hit his 13th batter, matching the Oakland record he set in 2001. Zito's 36 losses over the past three years are the most by an A's pitcher since Rick Langford and Brian Kingman each lost 38 from 1980-82.
"I had a terrible September," Zito said. "This was a terrible note to end on. I do want to focus on the good things. This year was a test for me, becoming the elder statesman of the staff."
Zito dropped to 3-5 with a 5.50 ERA over his past two Septembers, a stark contrast to his 16-2 record and 2.20 ERA during his first four Septembers. He finished the season with an AL-high 3,805 pitches.
"He had a great season," A's manager Ken Macha said. "He had to make some adjustments to make himself better and he should feel good going into next season because of the way he came back from that 1-6 start."
Chone Figgins walked leading off for the Angels and scored on Juan Rivera's groundout to the pitcher.
Quinlan led off the second with his fifth homer, a drive that bounced off the cement facade in left field. After Casey Kotchman walked, Molina homered for a 4-0 lead.
Bengie Molina hit a run-scoring double-play grounder in the third. Swisher homered in the fourth, but Jose Molina had an RBI single in the sixth. Figgins added a run-scoring double in the ninth.
Notes: A's SS Bobby Crosby missed his second straight game with a sore left ankle.... Angels OFs Garret Anderson and Vladimir Guerrero also were given their second straight day off.... The Angels changed their rotation for the series in Seattle, moving RHP John Lackey up a day to start Friday. LHP Jarrod Washburn will start Saturday.... The Angels won the season series from the A's 10-9.... Jeff Mathis singled off Keiichi Yabu in the eighth for his first major league hit.... Colon improved to 4-1 in Oakland.... Swisher's 21st home run ties him with Mitchell Page (1977) for fifth most by an Oakland rookie.