ANAHEIM -- Jesse Chavez delivered a strong outing in his Angels debut on Friday night, allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings to help lift the Halos to a 5-1 victory over the Mariners in the first regular season game of the year at Angel Stadium.
"To have an outing like this one, in the first one, the home opener, it's something I'll cherish," Chavez said. "It's something I wanted to do well with."
Chavez held the Mariners scoreless over five innings and retired 11 in a row before running into trouble in the sixth. The 33-year-old veteran surrendered three consecutive two-out singles to Mitch Haniger, Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, which cut the Angels' lead to 2-1.
With runners on the corners and the left-handed hitting Kyle Seager due to hit, manager Mike Scioscia decided to bring in lefty reliever Jose Alvarez, who struck out Seager on a foul tip to defuse the threat.
"I think I got a little confused with what to throw because we had everything working," Chavez said. "But you've got to tip your hat to those guys. Next bullpen I'll take in adjustments that I need to do as far as situations that happened in the sixth. I'll go back and work on that during the bullpen, and hopefully it doesn't happen next time."
Chavez pitched effectively enough to earn a victory in his first Major League start since Sept. 11, 2015, allowing four hits while walking one and striking out six. He pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays and Dodgers in 2016, but he signed a one-year, $5.75 million deal with the Angels over the offseason and earned a spot in their rotation after recording a 3.06 ERA over five spring starts.
The Angels made several strong defensive plays to back Chavez, highlighted by Cameron Maybin's sliding catch in left field to rob Seager of a hit in the second.
"Unbelievable," Chavez said. "Hands down, I believe [this defense] is the best in the game. Anywhere you look, there's a quality defender. And just let those guys do work. Just throw the ball in the zone, let the guys put it in play and watch these guys do what they're supposed to do."
Despite Chavez's solid effort, the Angels still have not had any of their starters get through six innings in their first five games of the regular season, a trend Scioscia said will eventually need to change.
"Our starting pitchers are going to have to break through that 16, 17-out barrier to get to the 18, 19 and 20 outs on a regular basis," Scioscia said. "We've got a lot of confidence in these guys. We just need them to get a little more effective."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.