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CLE@LAA: Chatwood comes up short in big league debut

ANAHEIM -- For an inning, it was an out-of-body experience for Tyler Chatwood.

For the Indians, one of baseball's surprise teams out of the gate, it was an out-of-the-park experience.

The surging Tribe used power and pitching to push its winning streak to eight games on Monday night with a 4-0 decision behind Mitch Talbot, who needed three outs of relief from Vinnie Pestano to complete the shutout.

Asdrubal Cabrera and Matt LaPorta spoiled 21-year-old Chatwood's Major League debut with early homers, and Talbot took care of the rest, foiling the Angels with command and ground-ball outs in front of 32,864 at Angel Stadium.

"Awesome," said Chatwood, a quiet young man from Redlands in the Inland Empire, an hour due east from Angel Stadium. "It was definitely exciting to pitch in Angel Stadium finally after growing up here and watching games.

"I couldn't feel my body in the first inning."

His line wasn't impressive, but for a kid four months past his 21st birthday in his fourth season as a professional, Chatwood handled himself well after getting the call at Triple-A Salt Lake over the weekend.

"Early in the game he got into a lot of hitting counts," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't know if he was amped up. The ball was coming out nicely, and he was spinning the ball.

"For a first outing, getting through five innings, hopefully it's something he can build off."

Assuming the rotation spot vacated by Joel Pineiro's trip to the disabled list, Chatwood got roughed up early with a pair of long balls but settled in and finished with three zeros.

Catcher Hank Conger, who has handled Chatwood in the Minor Leagues and during Spring Training, loves the quick pace he establishes.

"His tempo is upbeat, and it really keeps the infielders and outfielders on their toes," Conger said. "I thought he pitched well. The big thing is how strong he finished. It tells you a lot about him. He gave up a couple of homers on fastballs, but he went right back to work. I was impressed.

"If he was nervous, he didn't look like it."

Built along the lines of Roy Oswalt with similar stuff, his fastball topping out at 98, Chatwood made his final pitch, No. 90, his best.

Having walked the bases loaded while struggling with his release point, he worked the count full to Shin-Soo Choo in the fifth and got the dangerous right fielder to ground into a double play started by Howard Kendrick at second.

Indians manager Manny Acta was impressed with Chatwood.

"He made good pitches when he had to with that breaking ball and that changeup," Acta said. "We felt that we probably could've gotten a few more runs, but he made a good pitch on Choo and got himself out of the inning.

"We thought that was an opportunity for us to break the game open. You've got to give him credit. He battled and made the good pitch."

The second batter Chatwood faced in his debut, Cabrera, launched a fly ball that carried over the wall in center, the fourth home run by the Tribe's shortstop.

Chatwood caught Carlos Santana looking to close the first and got the first out of the second. Then Orlando Cabrera's single, Austin Kearns' double off the glove of Peter Bourjos in center and Matt LaPorta's three-run shot to right had the Indians in front, 4-0.

"I felt confident the whole time," Chatwood said. "I tried to attack the zone, get ahead early. I got behind [Cabrera] and he hit a fastball. On the other one, it was 2-2 and I left a fastball up. That's the one I'd like back."

Francisco Rodriguez followed Chatwood with two scoreless innings. Scott Downs made his Angels debut with a perfect eighth inning, and Rich Thompson continued his strong work with a perfect ninth, lowering his ERA to 1.59.

The Angels put runners on base against Talbot in each of the first six innings but couldn't sustain any offensive momentum. The first Angel to reach scoring position was Conger in the fifth after a single and Bourjos bunt, but he was stranded.

"He was in the zone," said Torii Hunter, hitless in four at-bats. "He had it all working: two-seamer, cutter, changeup, slider. Good young pitcher. He kept the ball down, and all we hit [were] ground balls all night."

The Angels fell to 5-5, four games behind front-running Texas in the American League West. The Central-leading Tribe advanced to 8-2.

"That's a hot start," Hunter said of the Indians. "If they stay consistent, they've got a chance to win over there."

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