OAKLAND, Calif. -- Bartolo Colon could have kept going had it not been for an awkward landing on his troublesome left ankle.
"That's the best I've felt this year," Colon said. "The main reason is every pitch was exactly where I wanted it."
Darin Erstad singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh and Steve Finley hit a solo homer in the ninth for the Angels, who won the AL West last season by one game over the A's and kept Oakland from the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Vladimir Guerrero, who bruised his right knee Tuesday and was the designated hitter a day later, was back in right field. He hit an RBI single in the Angels' four-run ninth that included an unearned run after Charles Thomas' error in right.
Colon (2-1) dominated the A's struggling lineup and outpitched Zito (0-3), who has dropped his first three starts for the first time in his career. The 2002 AL Cy Young award winner is winless in his last seven outings dating to Sept. 12, when he beat Cleveland.
This was as well as Zito has pitched in a couple of years, according to manager Ken Macha, but the left-hander had nothing to show for it.
"At this point I can't really focus on stats," said Zito, who is 0-4 in his last six starts. "I just have to think about my next start and I'll be all right."
Colon, coming off an 8-3 loss to Kansas City, recorded nine consecutive outs to start the game before allowing Mark Kotsay's leadoff double in the fourth. Scott Hatteberg drove in Kotsay with a single three batters later, then Colon retired his final 10 batters.
He felt a twinge in his ankle while striking out Marco Scutaro in the third inning, but stayed in the game. Colon felt it again while covering first on Scutaro's sixth-inning groundout. So, after the seventh, the Angels decided their ace was done.
The ankle bothered Colon for most of the first half last season.
"They asked me how I felt and I said I was hurting a little bit," Colon said. "They decided it was best I come out. I respect their decision."
He expects to make his next start. Colon set down the side in order in six of his seven innings, allowed one run and two hits, struck out five and didn't walk anyone.
His quick start surprised manager Mike Scioscia, who's accustomed to Colon taking a couple innings to get warmed up.
"He was that good," Kotsay said. "He kept the ball down and ran it up to 97. He attacked us."
In his last start in the Coliseum, the burly right-hander beat former A's ace Mark Mulder 10-0 on Oct. 4, combining on the four-hit shutout. Before that, he defeated Tim Hudson in Anaheim. Now, Zito's the only one left from the former trio known as the Big Three.
Robb Quinlan hit a tying RBI double in the seventh and scored a run for Los Angeles, and Finley hit his first homer for his new team over the right-field wall off Juan Cruz.
Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez finished the two-hitter with perfect relief.
Zito's rough start is surprising considering how confident he was all spring after an offseason spent improving his mechanics.
The lefty retired his first eight batters before plunking Quinlan with two outs in the third. Erstad followed with a walk, then Zito struck out Chone Figgins with a 78 mph curveball. Garret Anderson singled up the middle in the fourth for the first hit against Zito.
Zito made it through the first two innings in 20 pitches and looked much sharper than in his first two outings. He allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings, struck out six and walked one. He is the first A's starter to begin 0-3 since Cory Lidle in 2002.
"You couldn't have asked for more from either side," Scioscia said. "Barry pitched a terrific game, throwing strikes with every pitch. He had his thumb on us all game. That was about as sharp as we've seen him. ... As well as Barry was pitching, Bart was matching him pitch for pitch."
Last Saturday at Tampa Bay, Zito was tagged for 11 runs, eight earned, and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings of an 11-2 loss.
Zito also hit Finley with a pitch in the fifth and seventh innings. Along with hitting Quinlan, those were his first three hit batsmen this year after he plunked only nine last season. It tied an Oakland record and was the seventh time an A's pitcher hit three in a game. Hudson did it last June 11 vs. Pittsburgh. ... Colon made his 250th career appearance. He earned his 69th win since 2001, tying Roger Clemens for third-most during that span. ... Oakland's Eric Chavez didn't reach base for the first time this season. ... Angels pitchers retired their final 16 batters and 27 of 29 overall.