BALTIMORE (AP) — The first month of Wei-Yin Chen’s American adventure is going quite nicely. After four starts in the major leagues, the Taiwanese left-hander who spent the past four seasons in Japan is 2-0 with an impressive 2.22 ERA.
On Saturday night, Chen pitched seven strong innings, Chris Davis had four RBIs, Adam Jones and Robert Andino each had three hits and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Oakland Athletics 10-1.
Chen (2-0) allowed six hits and didn’t give up a run until Jonny Gomes’ one-out home run in the sixth. By then, he led 9-0. He struck out four and walked two.
“I feel like very thankful, I feel like the guys behind me supported me a lot,” Chen said through his interpreter. “A couple innings I couldn’t find the strike zone and to support me until the end I am really thankful.”
The Orioles matched a season-high with 10 runs, and in the second inning scored five runs on a season-high six hits.
“It was good for us to put some distance between us and give our bullpen a break,” Davis said.
Chen has allowed just two runs in his last two starts.
“I feel like I am getting improved every time I go out on the mound. I feel like I am getting better and better,” Chen said.
He also survived a hard-hit ball back to his abdomen in the fourth with a runner on first, and chided himself for getting just one out.
“If I can catch it, it’s definitely a double play,” Chen said.
Josh Reddick was hitless in three at-bats against Chen.
“He didn’t overpower us, we just missed him a lot,” Reddick said.
The Orioles are now 13-8 and haven’t been more than five games above .500 since July 20, 2005.
Oakland, which was a game above .500 for the first time since last May 18, fell back to 11-11.
Athletics manager Bob Melvin was more critical of his team’s offense than offering praise to Chen.
“I am not going to say he didn’t throw the ball well. I am just saying we had opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of. I think he probably gained confidence from that,” Melvin said.
“I haven’t seen him enough to say what kind of pitcher he is. The numbers he has put up are indicative of a good pitcher.”
Jones led off the second by beating out an infield hit off Tyson Ross (1-1). Wilson Betemit singled him to third. Jones scored on Davis’ single, and when Ronny Paulino faked the bunt, Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki tried to pick Betemit off but the throw was wild and runners moved up a base. Betemit and Davis scored on Ronny Paulino’s base hit. Paulino scored on Andino’s single, and after Nolan Reimold singled, Andino scored on J.J. Hardy’s sacrifice fly to center.
The Orioles added a run in the third on a single by Jones and a double by Betemit.
Baltimore added three in the fifth on an RBI single by Jones and a two-run single by Davis.
Ross was charged with nine runs and 11 hits in four-plus innings.
Davis hit his fourth home run of the year in the seventh. His four RBIs equal a career high.
The first baseman has enjoyed playing behind Chen.
“In the first two starts, got to be nerve-racking. To come over here and play in this league, especially when you’re a young guy. For him to go out there and consistently throw strikes and give us a chance to win a ballgame, says a lot about his makeup,” Davis said.
Luis Ayala pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Chen.
NOTES: Orioles Hall of Fame OF Frank Robinson was honored before the game with a statue unveiled beyond left field. Hall of Fame OF Hank Aaron attended as did Orioles Hall of Famers Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer and Earl Weaver. … Baltimore C Matt Wieters was out of the lineup because of illness. … Reimold extended his hitting streak to 13 games. … Ryan Flaherty started in right field for the Orioles in place of Nick Markakis. Markakis was the designated hitter. … Oakland 3B Luke Hughes, who was a late scratch on Friday with illness, returned to the lineup. … Athletics OF Coco Crisp stole his 27th straight base as part of a first-inning double steal. … RHP Bartolo Colon (3-2, 2.62) will start for the Athletics on Sunday against Orioles RHP Tommy Hunter (2-1, 4.74).
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)