ANAHEIM, Calif. -- When Bartolo Colon threw a no-hitter in Triple-A back in 1997, the only batter who hit the ball hard against him was Richard Hidalgo.
So when Colon faced the Texas Rangers ' slugger twice with the bases loaded Tuesday night, he knew what to do. The right-hander escaped jams in the first and third innings by retiring Hidalgo on fastballs.
Apparently, Francisco Rodriguez was taking notes, because he did the same thing to Hidalgo with the potential tying runs on base, and the Los Angeles Angels hung on for an 8-6 victory.
"I thought fastball the whole way," Colon said through a translator. "In the minor leagues, I remember how well he hit me when I threw him breaking balls. Even in the no-hit game I threw, he hit me well and made good contact. So even now, I respect him as a good breaking ball hitter. So why not throw the fastball?"
Dallas McPherson drove in three runs, helping the Angels rough up Chan Ho Park and open a 3½-game lead over the Rangers in the AL West. Darin Erstad had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 21 games. But it was the eight baserunners Hidalgo stranded that made most of the difference.
"Our approach with Hidalgo was simple," catcher Bengie Molina said. "He's a very good off-speed hitter, so all we were trying to do is stay with the fastball hard and make him beat us on the fastball. You've got to make him beat you with your best stuff, and the best stuff for us is the fastball."
Colon (9-4) improved his career record against Texas to 14-5, allowing three runs and six hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked two en route to his fourth victory in five decisions.
Texas tried to rally in the ninth on RBI singles by Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock, but Rodriguez struck out Alfonso Soriano and got Hidalgo to ground into a game-ending forceout.
Colon escaped his first bases-loaded jam -- and possible injury -- in the first.
Soriano's bat shattered on a bouncer just to the left of the mound with two on, and Colon had to duck to avoid getting hit in the head with the barrel. Soriano ended up with an infield hit, but Hidalgo looked at a third strike.
Colon stranded three more in the third, striking out Soriano and retiring Hidalgo on a flyout.
"We told our guys that we have to pitch him very tough because he's a very tough out and he's especially good in RBI situations, based on what we saw in the last series," pitching coach Bud Black said. "There's nothing really specific, because each pitcher throws different stuff, so we told them that they might have to heighten their concentration if that guy comes up."
The Rangers have lost 12 of their last 17 against the Angels. David Dellucci, whose solo homer Monday night was the extent of Texas' offense, hit a three-run shot in the fourth after the Angels staked Colon to an 8-0 lead.
Park (7-2) lost for the first time in 11 starts since Oakland beat him on April 18. The right-hander, who had won his previous six decisions, faced 13 batters -- retiring only three -- while allowing eight runs and 10 hits in the shortest of his 238 career starts. His ERA increased from 5.15 to 6.05, one point higher than Pedro Astacio's ERA was when the Rangers released him earlier Tuesday.
"Obviously, he struggled," manager Buck Showalter said. "We kept waiting for him to get an out and get out of the inning. They kept tacking on, and had a lot of good at-bats against him. It just kind of snowballed on him. The big inning is something he's been able to stay away from this year, but tonight was not the case."
Park, who threw 40 pitches in the first inning his last time out, needed 37 to get out of the first this time as the Angels sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs on seven hits.
"I think the key to getting anybody out of there as early as you can is by making him throw a lot of pitches and finding a way to get on base," McPherson said.
Vladimir Guerrero had an RBI double that extended his hitting streak against the Rangers to 26 games, the longest by any current player against one club. Molina and Adam Kennedy had RBI singles and McPherson added a two-run double.
The Angels loaded the bases again in the second against Park with three singles. John Wasdin replaced him and forced in a run with a walk to Molina. One out later, McPherson and Maicer Izturis padded the lead to 8-0 with RBI singles.
The last time Park faced the Angels on April 13 at home, he struck out six of his first nine batters. ... Wasdin was not charged with a run in 5 1/3 innings, and has not been scored upon in 12 2/3 innings in four relief appearances since being recalled from the minors on June 12. ... Guerrero, who had three hits, is batting .421 lifetime against Texas with 10 homers and 21 RBI. ... Texas' two catchers, Rod Barajas and Sandy Alomar Jr., are a combined 0-for-30 lifetime against Colon.