Chen Wei-yin (陳偉殷) won the first major league game of his career in his second start, as the Baltimore Orioles edged past the Chicago White Sox 3-2 in Chicago on Tuesday.
Chen, the fifth Taiwanese pitcher to appear in a game in the major leagues, got his first big league win faster than all but one of his countrymen who preceded him. Tsao Chin-hui (曹錦輝) won his debut start for the Colorado Rockies on July 26, 2003.
“I’m really happy. I don’t really know what to say,” the 26-year-old Greater Kaohsiung native said in a post-game TV interview. “This is just a small step for me and I hope I’ll win more games step by step.”
He also thanked the bullpen and his teammates, who helped secure the win and later drenched him with Gatorade and shaving cream to celebrate the milestone.
“He’s officially part of our family [now],” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the dousing. “It was a good moment for him and everybody, our team and the Orioles ... Taiwan’s pretty happy tonight and so are we.”
Chen gave up two earned runs on six hits and struck out four over 5-1/3 innings to help the Orioles earn their second consecutive win in the four-game series.
The teams were scoreless until the top of the sixth inning, when Orioles left-fielder Nolan Reimold hit a two-run homer and J.J. Hardy followed with a solo shot, staking Chen to a three-run lead.
The White Sox rallied in the bottom of the inning. Third baseman Brent Morel led off the inning with a single, and after Adam Dunn struck out, first baseman Paul Konerko drew a walk.
The two advanced a base on a wild pitch by Chen and were driven home by an A.J. Pierzynski double. Alex Rios followed with a single, moving Pierzynski to third and knocking the Taiwanese left-hander out of the game.
However, Chen’s chance for the win was preserved when Darren O’Day retired Alexei Ramirez on a pop-up and picked off Rios to end the inning.
The White Sox threatened again later on, including in the ninth when they loaded the bases with two out, but failed to push home the game-tying run.
Chen, who spent the previous four seasons in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, threw 99 pitches, 64 for strikes, against Chicago, and said he was not as sharp as he was in his major league debut against the New York Yankees, which ended in a no-decision.
“I feel like I’m really lucky tonight because compared with the last start, I don’t [sic] have really good command,” Chen was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. “I feel like the last start was pretty good. Today is so-so.”
Chen said his top priority for improvement would be to pitch deeper into games after failing to make it through six innings in his first two starts.