Orioles stay hot as Chen stymies Mariners; Cruz breaks 0-21 slump
BALTIMORE -- After Baltimore left-hander Wei-Yin Chen put together another dominant performance Friday against Seattle, his thoughts were with his family and friends thousands of miles away in his native Taiwan.
A deadly gas explosion in Kaohsiung reportedly killed at least 25 people and injured close to 300. None of Chen's family were injured but he expressed concern for those affected by the tragedy.
On the mound, Chen was fully focused as he won his fifth consecutive start and had a season-high eight strikeouts to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 2-1 victory over the Mariners.
"Unfortunately back in my hometown there was a horrible accident," Chen said. "So today this win I would like to give out to my home people and I would like to send out my best wishes to them and hope everybody is all right there."
Baltimore has won nine of its past 11 games and remained atop the AL League East. An RBI single by Manny Machado in the third, snapped the Orioles' scoreless streak at 19 innings.
Chen (12-3) allowed one run and five hits with one walk over 7 1-3 innings. Andrew Miller, acquired from Boston on Thursday, pitched a scoreless eighth in his debut for the Orioles (61-47). Left-hander Zach Britton picked up his 22nd save.
The Orioles improved to 18-2 when Chen goes seven more more innings.
"If you get seven innings out of your starter, you're going to win your share of games," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Shortens up a lot of things in the bullpen and really allows you to put people in situations that they prosper in. But regardless of the analysis of the game, it starts and most of it is with Wei-Yin. He's really solid for us here lately in a time of need, obviously standings-wise."
Robinson Cano had two hits for the Mariners and is 115 for 317 (.363) lifetime at Camden Yards.
"He's tough," Cano said about Chen. "He threw everything for a strike. He's not a guy that is just going to give you anything."
Mariners left-hander Roenis Elias (8-9) allowed two runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts and one walk over 5 2-3 innings. It was his longest outing since June 28 against Cleveland.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead on Machado's single in the third. The Mariners answered the next inning on a double by Kendrys Morales that scored Cano when Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph could not hold onto a relay throw by J.J. Hardy. That snapped a streak of 11 consecutive scoreless innings by Chen against Seattle.
In the sixth, Machado led off with a double and Hardy drove him in with a two-out single for a 2-1 lead.
"Both pitchers really good," Hardy said. "I think Chen threw the ball great. Elias threw the ball really well, and then our bullpen came in and shut them down and luckily we got a couple big hits."
Seattle fell to 5-37 when trailing after seven innings.
"They played a better game than we did," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "It was a hard-fought game. It was one of those games where they beat you. We didn't lose."
Orioles: Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will make a rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday. He is then expected to rejoin the Orioles when they travel to Toronto for a three-game series beginning Tuesday.
Mariners: Left-hander James Paxton (2-0, 2.25 ERA) will make his first start after initially going on the disabled list on April 9 with a left lat strain and then going on the 60-day DL with a left shoulder injury.
Orioles: Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (5-5, 3.77 ERA) will be facing the Mariners for the second time in his career. The previous start was less than a week ago when he did not get a decision in the Orioles' 3-2 victory.
The game between the Mariners and the Orioles featured two players celebrating their birthdays Friday. Seattle left-hander Roenis Elias turned 26, while the Orioles' center fielder Adam Jones became 29. Jones went hitless in three at-bats against Elias.
CRUZ BREAKS SLUMP
Baltimore's Nelson Cruz had a double in the fourth, snapping an 0 for 21 skid and the longest of his eight-year career.