Tyler Skaggs Wins Angels Debut, Shuts Down Astros

By Jose Serrano

Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Forgive Angels relievers if they seem well rested. They aren’t used to watching one of their starters make it past the fifth inning. Rookie left-hander Tyler Skaggs can be thanked for that.

Skaggs struck out five in a career-high eight innings, and Josh Hamilton drove in two runs as the Angels cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Saturday.

With the Angels’ lack of pitching depth, Skaggs was assured a spot in the starting rotation early in spring training. On Saturday, he proved to be the most reliable pitcher thus far, limiting the Astros to 1-6 with runners in scoring position.

Making his Angels debut, Skaggs was in complete control throughout. He scattered four hits and allowed one unearned run, it being the result of John McDonald’s error in the first inning. In the fifth, Houston’s only rally was quickly subdued when Jonathan Villar flew out to right field and Robbie Grossman grounded to second.

“Definitely worked the ball in and out (today.) Two-seam, four-seam in and out,” Skaggs said in a post-game interview. “It’s something me and (Mike Butcher) have been working on and it all came together today. It’s exciting, especially for my first outing.” Skaggs is the first Angel since 1995 to pitch eight innings without allowing an earned run in his debut.

Lost in the hype surrounding Mike Trout is Hamilton’s stellar first week. The Angels’ left fielder went 3-for-5 Saturday with a pair of singles to go along with his second home run of the season. Hamilton is batting .500 with nine hits and five RBIs through five games.

David Freese, Howie Kendrick, and pinch-hitter Kole Calhoun each drove in runs in the Angels second consecutive win. Still, the team was 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

The Angels improve to 2-3 on the young season and have won seven of their last eight game in Houston.