Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's pitching matchup pitted Wei-Yin Chen (1-1, 6.75 ERA) up against Chris Archer (1-0, 1.38 ERA) of the Rays.
Chen had been very hittable in his first two starts while Archer domianted in his first two but tonight saw a role reversal.
The Orioles jumped on Archer in the first with a Matt Wieters RBI single. They then proceeded to score three more in the 2nd inning, highlgihted by RBI doubles from Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis. An RBI double by J.J. Hardy and an RBI single by Steve Lombardozzi in the 3rd inning extended the Orioles lead to 6-0.
Chen meanwhile cruised through the first four innings, not allowing a single hit until the 5th inning.
The Orioles tacked on their 7th and final run in the 5th inning, all charged to Archer, on another RBI base knock by Flaherty. Chen pitched a quality start and the bullpen continued to shut down the Rays lineup as the Orioles finished them off for a 7-to-1 final score.
Wei-Yin Chen was awesome tonight. He shut down the first nine batters he faced and did an excellent job of setting a quick tempo and commanding his fastball to all corners of the zone. He hid the ball well and the fastball seemed to jump up on the Rays right handed batters at times.
The Rays were eventually able to make adjustments and touch him up a little. From inning five on, Chen allowed 5 hits and an earned run, so his troubles from last year facing a lineup the third time through could be an issue again. But, I'm nitpicking and Chen was pretty solid overall tonight, looking more like the dependable mid-rotation starter he's expected to be.
Final Line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, Win
Evan Meek relieved Chen in the 7th inning without allowing the inherited runner to score and also worked a scoreless 8th inning. He struck out Desmond Jennings on a cutter in the 8th.
Darren O'Day was summoned to pitch the 9th and worked a scoreless inning, including a called strikeout of Evan Longoria.
The Orioles bats went silent against Toronto's unheralded back-of-the-rotation types over the weekend, yet they rocked talented young righty Chris Archer tonight. Go figure.
The O's bats were on him left and right from the get go and ultimately scored seven runs on 12 hits and a walk over the first five innings of the game in which Archer pitched.
Matt Wieters had a big 3-for-4 game, driving in Nelson Cruz with a single in the 1st inning to score the O's first run.
J.J. Hardy also had a 3-for-4 game at the plate, including a pair of doubles down the line, one of which scored Wieters in the 3rd inning.
Nelson Cruz finished 2-for-5 and doubled on a line drive to left field that scored Ryan Flaherty in the 3rd inning.
Speaking of Flaherty, he had a nice 2-for-4 game with two RBI singles. "Local" Steve Lombardozzi also had himself a two-hit game.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
Ryan Flaherty made a nice play on a sharp ground ball to third base and fired a strike to first for the out in the 1st inning.
Wei-Yin Chen made a nice heads up play on a soft grounder in the 3rd inning and gunned down Yunel Escobar at first for the bang-bang out.
The Orioles turned a double play after Wil Myers walked in the 9th inning to put a nice finishing touch on the game.
Key Moments In The Game
The Orioles bats coming through with key base hits on several occasions with runners in scoring position. Most impressive was that they tacked seven runs on Chris Archer without swinging for the fences.
Other Notes/ Musings
Wei-Yin Chen allowed 21 hits in his first two starts but just 5 hits tonight, with none allowed throught the first four innings. That my friends is Chensanity.
Joe Maddon challenged a close play at first in the 5th inning in what would ultimately remain an infiled single for Steve Lombardozzi.
Matt Wieters is off to a great start, second on the team now with his .366 batting average. And don't look now but he is now 6-for-14 (.429) as a left handed batter. Keep it up, Matt.
Mother Nature will do her best to prevent tomorrow night's 7 ET game from happening. But, if the show does go on, Miguel Gonzalez and Jake Odorizzi will take the mound.
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