BALTIMORE (AP) Wei-Yin Chen turned in his finest performance of the season, yet there was reason to believe his masterful outing had something to do with the team he was facing – the struggling Boston Red Sox.
Chen allowed four hits over seven innings, Chris Davis homered and the Baltimore Orioles cruised to a 6-0 victory Wednesday night at soggy Camden Yards.
Nick Hundley had two hits and an RBI for the Orioles, who yielded only one run in winning two of three from the defending World Series champions.
”I’d be the first to say I think we kind of caught Boston not swinging the bats as well as they’re capable of,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. ”But I’m impressed with the way our guys pitched the last three days.”
Chen (7-2) did not return after rain delayed the game for 1 hour, 38 minutes in the middle of the seventh. The Taiwanese left-hander struck out a season-high seven, walked none and was aided by three double plays.
”There is not much difference between this outing and the previous outings but I think if I had to say one, it’s my command,” Chen said through a translator. ”My command on my breaking balls. I was able to locate them in the strike zone or out of the strike zone. That’s the main difference.”
It didn’t hurt that he was going up against a Boston team that has been blanked six times, twice in this series.
”One run in 27 innings is extremely difficult,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. ”You credit their pitching, you credit inning-ending double plays three different times tonight. We’ve got to a better job offensively all the way around.”
Dustin Pedroia had two singles for the Red Sox, who have lost seven of nine.
”We haven’t been swinging the bats good,” Pedroia said. ”It seems like when we do hit the ball well it’s right at somebody or we get a rally going and we find a way to stop it quick. You’ve got to keep fighting through it. It’s all we can do.”
Rubby De La Rosa (1-2) needed only 15 pitches to dig himself and the Red Sox a 3-0 hole. Steve Pearce walked and scored on a double by Adam Jones before Davis went deep into the right-field seats.
It was the 10th home run of the season for Davis, the defending major league home run champion. The slugger took extra batting practice before the game in an effort to break out of a 3-for-19 skid.
After play resumed in the seventh with Baltimore ahead 4-0, the few fans remaining watched Darren O’Day and Zach Britton each pitch an inning to complete the four-hitter.
”I was real pleased and proud of the way our guys pitched the last three days, all of them, the bullpen, too,” Showalter said. ”They came in and did what they’re supposed to do and we didn’t have to get anybody up behind them.”
Chen retired the first 11 batters, six by strikeout, before Pedroia lined a single into the right-field corner with two outs in the fourth. He was thrown out by Nick Markakis trying to stretch it into a double.
After Baltimore went up 4-0 in the fourth on a two-out RBI single by Hundley, a replay wiped out the inning’s second run. Hundley was called safe at second base on a fielder’s choice as Jonathan Schoop scored, but Farrell asked for a replay and Hundley was subsequently ruled out.
In the eighth, Red Sox reliever Chris Capuano walked Schoop and Markakis with the bases loaded.
NOTES: The Orioles’ 10-game homestand continues Thursday with the opener of a four-game series against AL East-leading Toronto. Mark Buehrle (10-2) starts for the Jays against Kevin Gausman (1-1). … Boston sends Jon Lester (6-7) to the mound Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series against Cleveland. … Pedroia went 2 for 3 against Chen and is 14 for 27 lifetime against the lefty. … Orioles 3B Manny Machado, who’s appealing a suspension that was supposed to start Tuesday, went 0 for 3 and is hitless in his last 18 at-bats. … On the day he turned 26, Boston’s Brock Holt had his 10-game hitting streak end and failed to reach base for only the second time in 20 starts as Boston’s leadoff hitter.