After tossing several warmup pitches before the eighth inning, Jack McDowell signaled for Terry Collins to come to the mound and told the Anaheim manager that he was through pitching for the night.
After missing 2½ months with a sore elbow, McDowell had good reason to smile and the Angels fans and players had good reason to be happy about his return.
Bothered by elbow problems for more than a year, McDowell looked mostly back in form against the Tigers, limiting them to five hits and no walks.
"I don't think we could have asked anything more of Jack McDowell," Collins said. "He hadn't pitched in almost three months, and he didn't have his good split (split-finger fastball), but he pitched on guts and savvy."
" He had good location , moved the ball around, changed speeds."
McDowell (2-2), winning for the only the second time since May 7, 1997, was pleased.
"It felt good. I didn't know how things were going to go. But I was able to get people out and now I know I can," McDowell said. "I think I located my pitches pretty well, stayed ahead of the batter most of the time."
When told that some of his pitches were clocked at nearly 90 mph, McDowell grinned and said, "That was major-league adrenalin."
After talking with Collins between innings, McDowell went out to warm up for the eighth, but decided that he didn't want ttake any chances of blowing the two-run lead.
" I figured, `hey, we're in the eighth inning of a close game and my split isn't working that well and the fastball drops down (in velocity),"' McDowell explained. "I knew 2-0 could turn to 2-2 in a heartbeat if somebody catches one of my fastballs."
It turned out to be a wise decision. Shigetoshi Hasegawa set the Tigers down in order in the eighth and Troy Percival pitched the ninth for his 34th save of the season and 100th of his career.
The Angels maintained their 1½-game lead over Texas in the AL West. The Rangers beat Cleveland 3-1 on Wednesday night.
McDowell threw 80 pitches, 59 for strikes, and struck out two, the first two batters he faced.
On the DL twice this year because of his ailing elbow, McDowell rejoined the active roster last Saturday, but had to finally serve a four-game suspension for participating in the Angels-Royals brawl in Kansas City on June 2 - while he was on the DL.
Detroit manager Buddy Bell was impressed by McDowell's performance.
"I've seen Jack better, but one of the reasons why he's been so successful is that he competes," Bell said. "I didn't think his stuff was all that good, but I thought he competed as well as anybody you'll ever see. Looking at it that way, he pitched a heckuva game."
Darin Erstad, also just off the disabled list, put Anaheim ahead to stay with an RBI single in the third inning.
Erstad, out 14 games because of a hamstring strain, singled home Reggie Williams to snap a scoreless tie in the third.
Williams, who doubled in that inning, made it 2-0 in the fifth with an RBI single to score Gary DiSarcina after he doubled.
McDowell outdueled the Tigers' Justin Thompson, who gave up two runs on nine hits. Thompson (10-10) struck out five and walked two.
It was the team-leading fifth complete game of the season for Thompson, whose teammates have provided him with a total of just 16 runs in his 10 losses.
"Thompson's really tough on us," Collins said. "I know he's tough on everybody, but especially on us. He threw 93-94 mph, that was all we saw, the first four innings, then he started mixing in changeups and curves. He can really pitch."
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