Taiwanese pitcher Chen Wei-yin (陳偉殷) tossed seven stellar innings in his return from the disabled list, leading the Baltimore Orioles to dominate the Texas Rangers 6-1 in Baltimore, Maryland, on Wednesday. Chen held the Rangers to one run on three hits and three walks over seven innings, providing the Orioles with a much-needed boost amid a mid-season slump and re-establishing himself in the front half of the Orioles rotation.
“Missed him,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said post-game. “Glad to have him back.”
His teammates felt the same.
“He’s proven to be a guy who can get late in the games, and that’s huge for us. That’s huge for every rotation, but I think it sets a really good tone for everybody else. For him to come back after being out two months, against that kind of lineup, is very impressive,” Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts said.
The left-hander quieted the Rangers lineup and did not allow a hit until Adrian Beltre’s two-out single in the fourth inning. However, he started to look shaky in the sixth inning, allowing the Rangers to break through for a run on a walk, a single and a groundout. Chen returned to the mound in the seventh and recorded his third perfect 1-2-3 frame to retire the Rangers hitters in order.
Chen certainly has reason to smile, garnering his first major league victory since May 12 in Minnesota, the final game he played before going on the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle.
“Winning the ballgame is real huge to me,” Chen said after the game. “I proved myself tonight. I’m healthy and I’m back. I feel like I helped the team to win. Everything is for the Orioles.”
The Orioles offense made sure Chen felt comfortable upon his return from injury, backing him with timely hitting in the fourth inning, including a three-run home run from Nolan Reimond, to help Baltimore best Texas to taste victory for only the third time in the past nine games. Showalter decided to fit Chen into the team’s temporary six-man rotation, allowing him an extra day of rest following his two minor league rehab games before Wednesday.
“I know he’s been anxious to get back with the club and make a contribution,” Showalter said. “It’s been a tough, tough road for him.”
Showalter’s plan proved effective, local commentator Tseng Wen-cheng (曾文誠) said, adding that Chen looked “no different from before his injury,” showing that an extra rehab game helped his smooth return to the majors.
However, although Chen had great command of his fast balls, “his change-ups were in bad shape and he looked a little gassed in the sixth inning, costing him a run,” the commentator added.
“You’ve got to give him credit,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He may not have pitched in a while, but he certainly didn’t look like it out there tonight.”
Chen has put the Orioles in position to split the four-game series with the Rangers and carry some momentum into the next series against the Toronto Blue Jays.