All spring the Angels watched Tyler Skaggs show flashes of brilliance interrupted by lapses of command that at times doomed his performance.

And then, he made his first regular-season outing, and that guy was gone.

“He was a lot different,” catcher Chris Iannetta said after Skaggs gave up one unearned run in eight innings of a 5-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night. “He had really good command of the fastball, especially the sinker. As the game progressed, he developed a really good feel for his curveball and his changeup. The changeup was the most inconsistent pitch in the spring, and that was pretty good for him tonight.”

What happened in between? Six days between his starts allowed him the opportunity to throw two bullpen sessions, one more than usual, and in that time, six weeks’ worth of mechanical adjustments seemed to click.

“Just small little changes,” Skaggs said. “Not a violent leg kick up in the air, and just really trying to follow through after I throw it, having my body facing home instead of spinning out.”

The little changes that Skaggs and pitching coach Mike Butcher had worked on all spring helped improve his command to the point where he could throw eight innings on 95 pitches, a ratio that any pitcher in the majors would take in a heartbeat.