'Unbelievable' Chacin gives Angels needed lift

'This is just what the doctor ordered,' Scioscia says after complete-game win

'Unbelievable' Chacin gives Angels needed lift

ANAHEIM -- It wasn't long ago that Angels right-hander Jhoulys Chacin thought his shoulder would never be the same.

But on Monday night, he stood out on the mound as he watched strike three sail past Detroit Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos, clinching his first complete game since August 2011 and a 5-1 win for the Angels.

It was his first win with the Angels, who acquired him from the Braves on May 11 and were desperately in need of starting pitching depth after injuries to Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, C.J. Wilson and others. For Chacin, it was a chance to revitalize his career.

Chacin fans 10 in complete game

He carved out a solid career in hitter-friendly Coors Field, even winning 14 games in '13. Then the shoulder issues began. He saw his velocity dip in '14, pitching through pain for the next year and a half with the Rockies and D-backs. Gradually, with treatment, things started to get better.

Chacin was his old self again Monday night, tossing a complete game and giving up a run on four hits as he struck out a season-high 10 batters. He tossed 114 pitches, asking Angels manager Mike Scioscia to go out for the final inning of the game. Chacin had his first big moment for his new club, something that seemed like a fading possibility just a year ago.

"I'm really happy," Chacin said. "I feel healthy, I feel like my arm is just getting stronger every time. Hopefully it just stays that way the whole season."

The right-hander was spot-on with his command, using his slider against a lineup consisting heavily of right-handed hitters and not allowing his first walk until the seventh inning.

"There's no doubt he was locating his stuff," Scioscia said. "He was getting some called strikes and getting some ugly swings from some really good hitters."

Chacin escapes jam in the 7th

Chacin excelled opposite Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander as the two matched each other pitch-by-pitch, with the two combining to retire the game's first 27 batters and come up just three batters shy of the Major League record.

"It's a challenge," Chacin said of his battle with Verlander. "You want to do the same thing [as him]. I had the home side, so I was first and I was just trying to keep it going."

Chacin didn't allow his first baserunner until Andrew Romine's two-out single in the sixth, keeping a shutout until Victor Martinez's one-out sacrifice fly in the ninth.

"It was unbelievable," Scioscia said. "From what we've seen, this is definitely his best outing."

It was much-needed, too. The Angels were thin in their bullpen after using all but one relief arm in a 13-inning loss the day before.

Chacin did the job, giving the Angels their first complete game of the season.

"This is just what the doctor ordered," Scioscia said. "We needed this as a team."

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.