Taiwan’s Chen Wei-yin took a four-hitter into the seventh inning as the Baltimore Orioles got their offense back on track against Chris Archer in a 7-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.
Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy each had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run for the Orioles, who were coming off a three-game series against Toronto in which they scored only five runs in 30 innings.
On Monday, Baltimore built a 6-0 lead over the first three innings and coasted to the finish. The Orioles had 13 hits, including five doubles.
It was by far the worst of Archer’s 30 major league starts. The seven runs and 12 hits he allowed were both career highs, and his ERA jumped from 1.38 to 4.50.
The performance came less than two weeks after the Rays gave Archer a six-year contract that guarantees the right-hander US$25.5 million.
Chen (2-1) retired his first 10 batters and did not allow a hit until James Loney doubled with one out in the fifth inning. The left-hander gave up one run, five hits and two walks in 6-1/3 innings.
It was a timely performance for Chen, who had allowed four earned runs in 5-2/3 innings against the Red Sox and four earned runs in 5 innings against the Yankees in his first two starts of the season.
After the game against the Yankees, a 14-5 Orioles win, Chen acknowledged he needed to be sharper.
“My teammates did a fantastic job scoring well for me, but I didn’t do a really good job,” Chen said.
The 28-year-old called the latest outing his best so far this season.
“The ball had some movement, unlike in my two previous starts,” he said.
In addition to Chen finding his groove, manager Buck Showalter cited luck and solid defense as the keys to the Orioles win.
“I thought they centered a lot of balls off him,” Showalter said of Chen. “We were fortunate tonight. Real good defense... The baseball gods were kind to him tonight after not being kind to him early on. They hit a lot of balls hard. Fortunately, we had people where they hit them.”
Chen was facing a Tampa Bay team that has been struggling at the plate. The Rays have scored only 14 runs in their past eight games and have tallied three runs or fewer in seven of the past eight.
Tampa Bay’s only run came in the sixth inning when Ben Zobrist walked and scored on a single by Evan Longoria.
However, the outcome was decided long before that.
Wieters gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead with a two-out RBI single in the first inning, before Baltimore added three runs in the second. Hardy doubled and Ryan Flaherty sliced an RBI single past the drawn-in infield, before Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis delivered run-scoring doubles.
Doubles by Wieters and Hardy, followed by Steve Lombardozzi’s RBI single, made it 6-0 in the third.
Singles by Wieters, Hardy and Flaherty gave the Orioles a 7-0 cushion in the fifth inning.
The seven runs were more than the Orioles scored in 11 of their previous 12 games.