Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Orioles: Red Sox rough up Chen, beat Birds

BALTIMORE - Wei-Yin Chen once again walked off the mound earlier than he would've liked, returning to the Baltimore Orioles' dugout with his glove off and head down after facing the Boston Red Sox.

In two starts against them last September, the Baltimore Orioles starter gave up a combined six runs on 20 hits over 11 innings and didn't it make it through six innings either time.

The time before that? Chen gave up eight runs on eight hits in just 3 2-3 innings in a loss on August 27 last year.

On Thursday night, Boston got to Chen again. The left-hander gave up four runs on a career-high 12 hits in just 5 1-3 innings of work and the Orioles fell 4-3 before 20,880 at Camden Yards.

Chen didn't give up many long hits. And he gave up no home runs.

But the Sox came through with a lot of short hits to the gaps. Eleven of the 12 hits Chen allowed were singles, and Boston (2-1) strung some together to create some runs early.

Chen said through his interpreter that he didn't feel the outing was too bad, but it was just a tough opponent.

"That's something you need to overcome as a pitcher," Chen said. "I allowed a lot of hits. That's what I have to work on. I didn't allow a big inning, that's what I'm happy about."

The lone extra-base hit Chen allowed was a sixth-inning double to Will Middlebrooks.

Xander Bogaerts scored on a double play in the second, David Ortiz had an RBI single in the third, and David Ross had an RBI single in the fourth. Chen's final batter of the game, Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth, also came up with an RBI knock.

Chen has given up three or more runs in his last five starts against the Red Sox and in six of his eight career starts against them. His career ERA against the Sox is now 5.29.

But overall, Chen said he thinks improvement will come this season and that he is where he hoped to be this early in the year.

"I feel even better than the year before," Chen said. "So I think there won't be too big a problem."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he was pleased with Chen's outing, stating there was "no problem" with it.

"He threw the ball pretty well, all things considered," Showalter said. "We'll take that. Scattered some hits, three or four of them the cheap variety. I was proud of him. He did a nice job staying engaged in the game."

The Orioles (1-2) finally got offensive production from other sources after Nelson Cruz had accounted for all the team's runs in the first two games, driving in three and scoring the other.

Chris Davis led off the fourth with a double to straight-away center. He was later driven in on a two-out double by Matt Wieters, who went 3 for 4.

Delmon Young cut Boston's lead to 3-2 later in the fourth with an RBI single off the right-field wall, driving in Wieters.

Red Sox starter Felix Doubront allowed three runs on six hits over 5 1-3 innings. But the Boston bullpen shut down the Orioles the last 3 2-3 innings.

After Young's single, Baltimore mustered just two more hits, both coming in the eighth inning and providing the Orioles one last scoring threat. But after a Wieters single moved Cruz to second, Young grounded out to second.

"The offense will come around," said Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy, who went 0 for 4. "I don't think we're worried about it. It's nice to see some good swings, for sure."

Sox closer Koji Uehara picked up his first save, retiring Jonathan Schoop, Ryan Flaherty, and Nick Markakis in order.

Baltimore scored just six runs in the series, dropping two out of three games to the defending World Series champions. Meanwhile, Boston plated 11 on a whopping 33 hits.

Showalter said the difference in the series was the Orioles were just barely outpitched.

"That's why they were the last team standing last year. They pitched better than everybody else," Showalter said. "We pitched pretty well in this series for the most part and they pitched a little better."

NOTES: Showalter said prior to Thursday's game if Friday's game against the Tigers is postponed, because of rain in the forecast, it would likely be moved to a Saturday doubleheader. That would allow both teams to carry a 26-man roster that day. Showalter said if that happens, they will bring up Kevin Gausman from Class-AAA Norfolk to be an extra reliever in the bullpen. ... Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and J.J. Hardy received their 2013 Silver Slugger Awards in a pregame ceremony. ... Miguel Gonzalez will pitch Friday for the Orioles facing Detroit's Anibal Sanchez at 1:05.