D-backs' Tyler Skaggs impresses in first start of 2013

Left-hander Tyler Skaggs was back in the Arizona Diamondbacks clubhouse Monday for the first time since spring training, and made his first big league start since September 20, 2012. He looked in control during his six innings of work and pitched through a tough Texas Rangers lineup en route to an impressive 5-3 victory.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Tyler Skaggs delivers a pitch against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of an inter league baseball game, Monday, May 27, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

"Come on, he was lights out," said manager Kirk Gibson. "Just got all of his pitches over and he executed a great game plan. He had three pitches going. Six innings was great, 102 pitches, he did a great job."

In six innings, the 21-year-old gave up three hits, no runs and struck out a career-high nine batters. Skaggs was brought up as the 26th player for Monday's doubleheader. He replaced starter Ian Kennedy, who's recovering from a cut on the index finger of his pitching hand.

"Spring training was tough for him but certainly he's been on a roll lately in the minor leagues and he threw the ball that way (Monday). We just tell him, you gotta learn how to treat it that way when you're here," said Gibson. "There's no reason you can't throw strikes and execute down there and execute here. You have to trust your defense and just make pitches."

Skaggs came into Monday's game with a 5.23 ERA in nine starts with Triple-A Reno, but in his last three games with the Aces he showed notable improvement with a 2-1 record and a 2.66 ERA.

"Oh yeah, it definitely feels good," said Skaggs after the win. "It feels good to come back to show that spring training was one of those things where I was working out some mechanical problems and now I feel like I'm on top of my game." Read More.