SARASOTA, Fla. - Wei-Yin Chen faced his third division opponent of the spring today, and he learned that the Rays’ lineup can be dangerous from top to bottom.
Tampa Bay outfielder Desmond Jennings had no homers and one RBI before today, when he launched a solo shot in the third inning and a grand slam in the fourth. Evan Longoria also homered leading off the fifth, Chen’s final inning of the day.
Update: Jennings hit his third home run, a solo shot off Kevin Gregg in the top of the seventh. Nick Johnson homered in the bottom of the seventh. Rays 8, Orioles 3.
Chen is charged with only three earned runs among the seven that scored because of J.J. Hardy’s error with one out in the fourth that followed Jose Molina’s double and Matt Joyce’s walk. Reid Brignac popped up the first pitch thrown to him, but Jennings worked the count full and worked Chen’s last nerve.
Chen gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out none. He threw 82 pitches, 54 for strikes.
In his last outing, Chen allowed three earned runs (four total) and six hits against 26 batters in a minor league game. He surrendered eight earned runs (12 total) and 19 hits in five Grapefruit League starts covering 20 innings.
Zach Phillips replaced Chen and tossed a scoreless sixth inning.
Hardy has homered twice today, including a shot off Rays starter James Shields in the first inning. Shields allowed one run and two hits in four innings, with one walk and six strikeouts. He threw 60 pitches, 38 for strikes.
Over at Twin Lakes Park, Tommy Hunter allowed two earned runs (three total) and six hits, with two walks and five strikeouts, in a minor league intrasquad game. He threw 90 pitches.