Taiwanese pitcher Chen Wei-yin of the Baltimore Orioles was again starved of run support, but still managed his second win of the season by pitching eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 Major League Baseball victory over the Athletics in Oakland on Friday.
In the longest outing of his major league career, Chen gave up only two hits, walked two and struck out five in improving his record to 2-2 and lowering his ERA to 2.53.
“I don’t know why, but I suddenly felt completely exhausted out there. But it’s all worth it now after I was able to help the team win,” the 27-year-old from Kaohsiung said on his Facebook page. “I hope I can feel the way I feel now after the rest of my games this season.”
The Orioles had scored no more than one run in two of Chen’s last three games — both losses — and struggled to put runs on the board again on Friday.
The game was scoreless after six innings, but J.J. Hardy singled in the top of the seventh, reached second on a fielding error and scored on Steve Pearce’s one-out single to give the Orioles the lead, one that Chen had no intention of giving up.
Chen yielded only a walk in the seventh and eighth innings to protect the lead before giving way to closer Jim Johnson in the ninth.
“I am speechless right now. I have no idea what happened on the mound ... I just had a really good feeling today and I feel strong today and my teammates helped me a lot,” Chen was quoted as saying by the Baltimore Sun.
“Not physically, but mentally I think this is probably the best start I have had in the major leagues,” Chen said through his interpreter.
“I just got the ball and was just letting it go. I didn’t want to think that much. Last couple of outings and by the end of last year, I [would] think too much. And it confused me a little bit. So today I just let it go. Everything I just let it go. I don’t want to think too much about it,” he said.
The Orioles made Johnson’s job easier in the bottom of the ninth by adding two insurance runs in the top of the inning on two walks, a hit and an error.
Meanwhile, Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki hit a bases-loaded double with two outs in the fifth inning, leading the Rockies to a 6-3 win over Arizona, re-establishing a two-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the National League West division.
Michael Cuddyer had a two-out, two-run single in the first, and Wilin Rosario added a solo homer in the sixth for the Rockies.
Elsewhere, Carlos Beltran powered St Louis to a comfortable win over Pittsburgh and Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez struck out a staggering 17 batters to bewilder Atlanta.
Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann pitched a shutout to defeat Cincinnati, Texas’ Adrian Beltre went long in the win over Minnesota and Boston’s David Ross homered twice in the victory over Houston.
Colorado’s Juan Nicasio (3-0) pitched long enough to earn the win, going five innings and allowing four hits. Rafael Betancourt earned his eighth save with a scoreless ninth inning.
Brandon McCarthy pitched six innings for Arizona and was charged with six runs. He dropped to 0-3 this season with a 7.48 ERA.
St Louis’ Carlos Beltran homered from both sides of the plate and drove in three runs to power the Cardinals to a 9-1 win over Pittsburgh.
Cards starter Lance Lynn (4-0) struck out nine in seven innings, allowing two hits. He improved to 9-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his last 10 regular-season appearances.
Pirates starter Jonathan Sanchez was ejected in the first inning for hitting a batter with a pitch, and manager Clint Hurdles was also ejected when he came out to argue the point. The Pirates’ hitting coach Jay Bell followed them in the fifth for arguing after a Pittsburgh batter was hit by Lynn for the second time.
Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez set a team record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game with 17, leading the Tigers to a 10-0 win over Atlanta.
He had a mathematical chance of tying the major league mark of 20 when he was pulled after eight innings and 121 pitches.
Sanchez (3-1) took off his hat as he was leaving the field following the top of the eighth, acknowledging a huge ovation at Comerica Park after he struck out Dan Uggla, his final hitter.
Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann was terrific in his second complete game of the season, guiding the Nationals to a 1-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Zimmermann (4-1) allowed only one hit and one walk while improving to 3-0 with a 1.36 ERA in five career games against Cincinnati. He needed only 91 pitches to record his third career complete game.
It was the first time the Reds managed just one hit in consecutive games since July 1900, against Brooklyn, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau that the team provided.
Texas’ rookie pitcher Justin Grimm won his second consecutive start and was helped by Adrian Beltre’s homer as the Rangers beat Minnesota 4-3 and notched their seventh win in eight games.
Grimm (2-0) followed up his career-best nine-strikeout effort against Seattle by shutting out Minnesota for seven innings, allowing no walks.
Boston’s David Ross cleared the Green Monster twice with solo home runs as the Red Sox downed the Houston Astros 7-3.
Ryan Dempster struck out 10 for the Red Sox.
Los Angeles’ Adrian Gonzalez drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a two-out double in the seventh inning, lifting the Dodgers to a 7-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
New York’s David Phelps struck out a career-high nine in four innings while replacement catcher Chris Stewart threw out two baserunners to quash potential rallies as the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4.
Philadelphia’s Kyle Kendrick pitched the best game of his career, shutting out the New York Mets and securing a 4-0 win.
San Diego’s Andrew Cashner pitched six effective innings and contributed a big hit at the plate as well, helping the Padres to a 2-1 win over San Francisco.
Chicago’s Jake Peavy pitched well into the seventh and the White Sox batters supported him with three homers to rally from a three-run deficit and beat Tampa Bay 5-4.
Los Angeles’ Hank Conger and Mark Trumbo each hit two-run homers while pitcher C.J. Wilson worked out of a pair of bases-loaded jams to help give the Angels a 6-3 victory over Seattle.
Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo had two home runs and four RBIs to power the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over Miami.