Chen’s Orioles lose to Blue Rays

LIFE’S A PITCH::Chen Wei-yin made his first start of the season, while elsewhere, the Red Sox made their best start to a season since 1999

Staff writer, with CNA and AP, NEW YORK

Fri, Apr 05, 2013 - Page 19

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Taiwan’s Chen Wei-yin of the Baltimore Orioles held the Tampa Bay Rays scoreless in five innings on Wednesday in St Petersburg, Florida, but the bullpen failed to carry the team through, losing the game 8-7. Chen got out of the first five innings unscathed, and left the mound with a 4-1 lead and one on and two outs in the sixth, after yielding a double and a single. Luis Ayala took over the job, only to see the Rays tie the game 4-4 with a single and a three-run homer.

The Orioles’ offense added one run in each of the next three innings, but Orioles reliever Pedro Strop gave up three runs in the bottom of the seventh and the Rays walked off with a solo home-run off Tommy Hunter in the bottom of the ninth.

Despite five scoreless innings, Chen’s work in his first start of the season was less than impressive. He struck out four, but gave up two earned runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He also needed double plays to get out of trouble in the first three innings after allowing lead-off singles.

“To be honest with you, my control and my command wasn’t there early in the game. I just tried to throw strikes, and it’s hard for me especially [because] they swing at everything. It was hard for me in the beginning,” he was quoted as saying by the Baltimore Sun.

The lefty, 27, also said on his Facebook page that “it was a shame I couldn’t help the team win.”

He admitted he got too relaxed in the sixth inning.

“With one more out, that could have been a quality start for me. I’m mad that I always make the same mistake. I knew it was a bad habit and I let it happen,” he said.

However, Orioles manager Buck Showalter had a different view.

“Wei-yin presented himself well,” he said. “Chris Davis continues to swing the bat ... I liked the way our guys kept fighting back.”

“It was entertaining for most people here. Didn’t like the way it ended, but good things happened. We’ll dwell on those,” Showalter was quoted as saying in an AP report.

Meanwhile, Clay Buchholz silenced the Yankees’ bats and speedy Jackie Bradley Jr got his first major league hit as the Boston Red Sox beat New York 7-4 to open a season with consecutive wins for the first time since 1999.

Pitcher Hiroki Kuroda became the latest Yankees player to get hurt, leaving in the second inning with a 2-0 deficit, four batters after Shane Victorino’s line drive bruised the middle finger of his pitching hand.

While the Red Sox under new manager John Farrell are off to their best start since going 5-0 in 1999, New York have been outscored 15-6 and outhit 26-15. The Yankees have failed to hold a lead at any point in their opening two games for the first time since 1998.

Boston burst ahead 6-0 with a four-run third against Cody Eppley, and the Yankees never challenged.

Buchholz (1-0) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth for his first save with Boston.

New York said Kuroda was being sent for X-rays and other tests.

In other American League games on Wednesday it was:

‧ Rangers 4, Astros 0

‧ Indians 3, Blue Jays 2

‧ White Sox 5, Royals 2

‧ Twins 3, Tigers 2

‧ Athletics 6, Mariners 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AP, ATLANTA, Georgia

Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and rookie Evan Gattis homered, helping Paul Maholm and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-2 on Wednesday night.

Freddie Freeman had three RBIs as the Braves chased Roy Halladay in the fourth inning. Upton belted a two-run shot in the first to give him a pair of homers in his first two games for Atlanta.

Halladay (0-1), who struggled with a sore shoulder last season and had a difficult spring training, gave up five runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings. The two-time Cy Young Award winner struck out nine, but dropped to 0-4 with an 8.00 ERA in his last seven starts against Atlanta.

Paul Maholm (1-0) allowed six hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out six and walked one.

Gattis led off the fourth inning of his first major league game with a drive to left.

The Phillies were just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

In other National League games on Wednesday it was:

‧ Nationals 3, Marlins 0

‧ Mets 8, Padres 4

‧ Pirates 3, Cubs 0

‧ Rockies 7, Brewers 3

‧ Giants 5, Dodgers 3

‧ Diamondbacks 10, Cardinals 9

INTERLEAGUE

AP, Cincinnati, Ohio

In Cincinnati, Ohio, Brandon Phillips hit a three-run homer in his new role as the Cincinnati Reds’ cleanup hitter, and Joey Votto drove in the winning run with a ninth-inning single as the Reds beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-4.

Votto’s first hit of the season off left-hander Scott Downs (0-1) deflected off the glove of first baseman Albert Pujols and rolled into the outfield, allowing Choo Shin-soo to score from second base. Choo reached when he was hit by a pitch and advanced on a sacrifice.

Votto had been 0 for 6 heading into the decisive at-bat.

Phillips moved into the cleanup spot because of Ryan Ludwick’s injury and hit the Reds’ first homer of the season. He connected for a three-run shot against C.J. Wilson in the fourth inning.

Left-hander Aroldis Chapman (1-0) walked one in the ninth, throwing a 99mph pitch that hit the backstop screen.