Chacin's gem gives rotation much-needed lift

Chacin's gem gives rotation much-needed lift

ANAHEIM -- The Angels need improved starting pitching going forward, and Jhoulys Chacin was able to provide exactly that in Sunday's 2-0 win over the Yankees at Angel Stadium.

Chacin scattered six hits over 5 2/3 innings in his first start without surrendering an earned run in over four months. He picked up the victory, too, the first time he's done so in over two months.

"Yes, it was definitely good for me, but for the team, too," said Chacin, who earned his first win since June 14 to help the Angels avoid a season sweep by the Yankees. "It was really nice to get a win."

The Angels' rotation entered Sunday with a 1-12 record and 7.83 ERA over the last 16 games, which had yielded just two wins for the Halos.

Sunday was Chacin's third start since returning from a six-week stint in the bullpen. His outing against the Yankees was by far the best he's been since rejoining the rotation, as he'd worked a total of six innings over this last two starts combined.

"I think he really had good command of both his breaking pitches, his slider, his curveball, didn't make many mistakes with them," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "And when he needed to, he found some velocity and good movement on his fastball. He made some big pitches."

One of those big pitches was a 3-2 breaking ball to Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira, which resulted in a flyout to end a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning and preserve a 1-0 lead for the Angels.

"I got two quick outs and then I got bases loaded, just trying to make my pitch and get out of the inning, and that was the key out today," said Chacin, who had four strikeouts against one walk.

Chacin escapes Yankees' threat

Chacin said he's been focused on bringing a reliever's mentality into his familiar role as a starter. It worked wonders on Sunday.

"When you come out of the bullpen, you have to use all your pitches," Chacin said. "The first inning, I was using all my pitches. ... I wasn't trying to do too much, just trying to throw strikes. I executed good pitches today."

Andrelton Simmons gave Chacin an early lead to protect with a two-out single in the first to score Albert Pujols, who finished with three hits. Simmons also drove in Pujols with another two-out single in the eighth to provide insurance for Fernando Salas, who struck out two in a perfect ninth inning for his fourth save.

Salas completes the save

Chacin also benefited from a solid day from the bullpen. In addition to a 1-2-3 ninth from Salas, Deolis Guerra got four outs and JC Ramirez pitched a scoreless inning. It was the Angels' first shutout since July 16 against the White Sox.

"They've been awesome," Chacin said. "They've been strong, getting outs and throwing the ball really well. I've been watching them in the bullpen and now in games. They threw the ball well."

Ramirez escapes trouble

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Angels on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.