Chacin impressive in Angels debut

Righty gives up two runs in seven innings, striking out four

Chacin impressive in Angels debut

SEATTLE -- The Angels have had three starting pitchers complete seven innings this season. One is Hector Santiago, who has spent his entire career searching for pitch-efficiency. Another is Jered Weaver, who throws the slowest fastball in the game. And the other is Jhoulys Chacin, a desperation acquisition for a low-level Minor League reliever.

Making his Angels debut at Safeco Field on Saturday night, Chacin limited the Mariners to two runs on five hits and no walks through the first seven innings, striking out four and requiring only 90 pitches to record 21 outs in the Angels' eventual 9-7, come-from-behind win.

It marked only the second time since April 26 that the Angels had received at least six innings from a starting pitcher.

"I feel healthy," said Chacin, the former Rockies standout who battled shoulder issues for most of the last two years. "I feel my arm is as good as it was before. I'm just having fun. I'm just trying to make pitches, trying to keep the ball down, and just have fun playing."

Chacin came over with a 5.40 ERA in five starts, but he had struck out 27 batters, issued only eight walks and sported a solid 48 percent ground-ball rate in 26 2/3 innings. His velocity was back, as was the movement and the life on his pitches, and it showed when the 28-year-old right-hander took the ball on nine days' rest.

Chacin served up a two-run homer to Adam Lind in the second, then retired 17 of 20 hitters. He relied mainly on a 90-mph sinking fastball, which helped him produce 12 ground-ball outs, and kept Mariners' hitters off-balance with a slider thrown mostly 80 mph.

"I was throwing strikes," Chacin said, "getting ahead in the count and mixing up my pitches when I needed to."

But Chacin's pitch-efficiency didn't buy him an extra inning. Angels manager Mike Scioscia chose not to send him back out for the eighth, which proved costly when Mike Morin and Fernando Salas combined to allow five runs, giving the Mariners the lead until Albert Pujols delivered the game-winning three-run homer in the ninth.

Chacin's max this season was 91 pitches, a total he reached in each of his last three starts with Atlanta.

"He was running toward the end of his night as far as where we would've liked to have kept his pitch count," Scioscia said. "He might have gone out there and had five or seven more pitches, but we definitely felt better to start fresh with Mike, and we had Fernando and we had Joe [Smith], so we felt we had backup there, instead of trying to stretch Chacin a little bit too far."

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.