Taiwan’s Chen Wei-yin (陳偉殷) secured his third major league win as the Baltimore Orioles belted three home runs from three straight batters to open their 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday, a first in American League history.
Putting together his best start of the season, Chen gave up just two earned runs and six hits in 7-2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one. He threw 103 pitches, 70 for strikes.
The 26-year-old left-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in five of his first six starts and has improved to 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter described Chen’s performance as “outstanding.”
“Wei-yin was a difference-maker today, to get that deep in the game and against obviously a good lineup,” Showalter said.
Asked if that was the best he has seen Chen this season, Showalter said: “We’re still learning about him.”
“Considering the competition and the need, it certainly seemed pretty crisp for us,” he added.
Chen attributed his good results to concentration.
“I just followed the coach’s instruction and did my best,” he said.
Ryan Flaherty, J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis all homered within the first eight pitches from Rangers starter Colby Lewis.
Flaherty’s blast to right field on a low fastball was his first career extra-base hit.
Hardy’s shot to left field came on a fastball down the middle. Markakis completed the treble with his homer to right field on a 0-2 slider.
“Nothing surprises me when you’re dealing with this level of skill,” Showalter said. “There’s not a day that goes by that something doesn’t happen.”
Adam Jones and Wilson -Betemit also homered for Baltimore as the Orioles bats provided plenty of support to Chen.
The Orioles survived a late scare to take the victory in the first game of a double-header.
Chen kept Texas off the scoreboard until the fourth inning and he kept Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton in the ballpark in the follow-up to Hamilton’s spectacular four-homer game on Tuesday.
Hamilton, who belted four homers off three pitchers to power Texas past Baltimore on Tuesday, went one-for-four against Chen. The left-hander got Hamilton to fly to left on a 1-2 pitch with the bases loaded to end the top of the third.
“I didn’t think about it too much,” Chen said. “I just tried to keep the ball down and not be afraid to walk him.”
In the second game of the double-header, Hamilton hit his major league-leading 15th homer of the season as the Rangers beat Baltimore 7-3.