SARASOTA, Fla. - Wei-Yin Chen seemed more relaxed today in his exhibition debut against the Minnesota Twins. It didn’t matter that a crowd was watching. Pitching in front of empty seats for the intrasquad game didn’t do much to soothe his nerves.
“Last time, I didn’t feel comfortable on the mound, but today I adjusted a lot and I felt more confident to throw the ball to Matt (Wieters),” Chen said through his interpreter after blanking the Twins on one hit and striking out three in two innings.
“I’m still a human being so I’m still nervous when I pitched for the first time, so this time I felt much better the second time on the mound.
“I felt so excited to pitch in front of the crowd.”
Chen struck out the side in the second after Aaron Bates’ leadoff single.
“Because of tempo and timing, this time I threw very well,” Chen said. “I think the most important thing is the Twins’ batters don’t know me yet, so that’s why I can strike them out three times in a row.”
Chen estimated that he threw 80 percent fastballs. The pitch topped out at 91 mph.
“Right now, I have been really comfortable communicating with Matt,” Chen said. “He’s a really good catcher and he’s guided me a lot and we have really good communication. Right now, I don’t worry about the game plan or anything. I just throw to him. He’s a good catcher.”
Armando Galarraga followed Chen with two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and walking a batter. Luis Ayala gave up a single in a scoreless fifth.
Adam Jones’ two-out RBI single in the fourth increased the Orioles’ lead to 2-0.
Endy Chavez is 2-for-2 with a walk.
Update: Luis Ayala threw a scoreless fifth inning, allowing one hit. Matt Lindstrom walked a batter before getting a 4-3 double play to end a scoreless sixth, and Steve Johnson allowed a single and hit a batter in a scoreless seventh.
The Orioles still lead, 2-0.
Update II: Scott Beerer singled with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth to score a run, and Jai Miller followed with a three-run double - barely missing a grand slam in the process.
The Orioles are abusing Twins reliever Jason Bulger. They lead, 6-0.