In the eyes of Orioles manager Buck Showalter, left-hander Wei-Yin Chen battled some tough luck in his first two starts of the season. He pitched well enough to win, his skipper said, but was victimized by seeing-eye hits that led to some early exits. After allowing nearly two hits an inning in those starts, Chen set the tone early against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night at Camden Yards and ended up turning in his best start of the year. Chen didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning and held the Rays to one run and five hits over 6 1/3 innings, leading the Orioles (6-7) to a 7-1 victory in front of an announced crowd of 15,799 at Camden Yards in one of their most complete wins of the season. “The baseball gods were kind to him tonight after not being kind to him early on,” Showater said. “We played real good defense. I thought they centered a lot of balls off him. Real good defense. Three double plays. Two behind him. … They hit a lot of balls hard tonight that we caught. Fortunately, we had people where they hit them.” The Orioles offense battered one of the best young pitchers in the American League East, scoring seven runs on 12 hits over five innings against Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Chris Archer — the most runs that the 25-year-old has allowed in a single outing in 32 major league appearances. And while the Rays made good contact against Chen throughout the night, he was the recipient of some fine tone-setting defense behind him. “It's nice to go out there and pitch like we did, hit like we did,” said Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who had three hits, including two doubles. “It was just a good game all around.” Chen received a standing ovation as he exited the game in the seventh inning having completed his first quality start since last Sept. 7, a span of seven starts. Following the outing, Chen (2-1) said he needed a strong showing like Monday, when he retired 13 of the first 14 hitters he faced before allowing his first hit of the game, a one-out double by James Loney in the fifth. “I would say [I needed it] pretty bad, because in my last outing my teammates did a fantastic job scoring well for me, but I didn't do a really good job,” Chen said through interpreter Louis Chao. “So I was really trying to do a good job for the team and to get a win for the team. Today, the defense picked me up, so I really appreciate the team effort.” Chen, 28, struggled at the end of last season, going 1-4 over his final 11 starts.
Wei-Yin Chen starts strong, offense wakes up in Orioles' 7-1 win over Rays
Baltimore Sun | Apr 15