ANAHEIM -- Up, down, up, down. It was repeated 27 times to begin the game, in which Los Angeles Angels starter, Jhoulys Chacin and Detroit Tigers starter, Justin Verlander matched up perfect for the first four-and-a-half innings.
For the first time since the first day of August in 2010, the first 27 hitters of the game were retired, 12 by way of the strikeout. Chacin and Verlander had their stuff working flawlessly. The final saw Chacin get the better, pitching a full nine innings, one night after the Angels had to use seven pitchers in a 13-inning game.
"This was just what the doctor ordered, we needed this," said Angels manager, Mike Scioscia. "Not only to pitch nine innings, but as effective as he was to give us a chance to win, matched up against Justin Verlander, those guys were going pitch-by-pitch."
Verlander and Chacin had a pair of pitches working well for them, particularly the cutter for Verlander and slider for Chacin, which forced 12 swing-and-misses.
"My slider was really good today," said Chacin. "Mixed in with my slider, coinciding into my sinker. My slider today was the best I've been throwing this season."
"Honestly it was a pitch I didn't know he had," said Johnny Giavotella, Angels second baseman, on Verlander's cutter. "Usually he has that big curveball and explosive fastball but he's added that cutter to the mix and it's a great pitch if he keeps it outside and down - it's a tough pitch to hit."
The starters matched zeros up into the bottom of the eighth when the Angels offense began to spark, kick started by a leadoff single from Giavotella. Back-to-back singles, a fielder's choice, intentional walk and another pair of singles landed Los Angeles five runs total in the eighth, giving Verlander a late exit to the game.
"It was big for us," said Giavotella. "Verlander did a great job of keeping us in check. He's a competitor out there."
"Once we had first and third, really felt like the momentum was in our favor. Cliff [Pennington] did a great job of staying on top of that high fastball to drive it into left field. We had great team at bats tonight."
The top of the ninth was set for Chacin, who was already 106 pitches deep into his outing, all with a goose egg on the scoreboard in the runs column.
"[Scioscia] asked me before the bottom of the eighth started how I felt," Chacin said. "I said, 'let me finish,' and he let me go and I'm glad he did."
A run would soon come in, but the damage was done. The Angels came out victorious by a score of 5-1, with Chacin recording his third career complete game. The Angels have now won 14 of the last 15 games at Angel Stadium against the Tigers, and 20 of the last 24 match ups.