Meyer turns in best start of career vs. Tigers

Angels righty goes 6 1/3 innings, striking out 7 and allowing 1 run

Meyer turns in best start of career vs. Tigers

ANAHEIM -- After facing the Mariners on May 4, Angels right-hander Alex Meyer felt dejected. He had lasted only four innings, surrendering six runs on eight hits and knocking the Halos out of the game early. His ERA spiked to 9.36 after his second consecutive rocky outing, and his confidence plummeted.

"I was feeling sorry for myself," Meyer admitted. "I was wondering. 'Am I a starter? I can't even go out there and go through the fourth inning.'"

But Meyer quashed some of those doubts by delivering the best start of his career Sunday, holding the Tigers to one run on three hits while striking out seven over a career-high 6 1/3 innings in the Angels' 4-1 victory at Angel Stadium. It was the first quality start of Meyer's career.

The 6-foot-9 hurler yielded a leadoff double to Ian Kinsler and an RBI single to Nicholas Castellanos to start the game, but he did not give up another hit until Victor Martinez doubled with one out in the seventh.

"His stuff is electric," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Today he matched the rhythm, the command, especially after starting off the first inning with a double and a base hit to go through a really tough lineup. He was on top of counts all day, using all his pitches and throwing some breaking balls on off-counts. The whole thing you would like to see in a game plan, he accomplished."

Scioscia on win over Tigers

The Angels have liked Meyer's potential -- particularly his velocity -- since acquiring him from the Twins as part of the Hector Santiago trade last summer, but command has always been an issue for the right-hander. While his four-seamer has averaged 97 mph this season, he also entered Sunday with 12 walks in 13 innings over his first three starts in 2017.

But against the Tigers, Meyer threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of the 23 batters he faced, allowing him to get ahead of counts. He issued only two walks Sunday, the fewest he's allowed in a start this season. After giving up the RBI hit in the first inning, Meyer struck out Miguel Cabrera swinging, coaxed a flyout from Martinez and picked off Castellanos from first to minimize the damage.

"I was just a little more aggressive and started pitching inside a little bit more," Meyer said. "Being able to mix pitches up, throw a breaking ball for a strike, that played, obviously, a key in it. Getting Cabrera there was obviously big, and then after that, slowed things down a little bit and just started attacking. Obviously, it ended up paying off for us."

Meyer said he plans to use this start as a stepping stone into more consistent success in the Majors. With Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs on the disabled list, the Angels are in need of a boost to their starting rotation, and Meyer said he hopes he can continue to provide one.

"I want to go out there, I want to be pitching," Meyer said. "I want to be one of the guys that every time I go out there every fifth day, I [don't] want them wondering, 'Well, what are we getting from him today? Is he going to be good, is he going to be bad?' When I go out there, I want them to know that we have a chance to win today."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.