CHICAGO - Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen learned a new American custom tonight related to major league baseball.
Get your first win, get covered in shaving cream and a sports drink.
Chen walked out of the bathroom after tonight’s 3-2 victory over the White Sox and discovered that Luis Ayala and Tommy Hunter were waiting for him. Ayala had the shaving cream, Hunter had the blue Gatorade.
You can picture the rest.
“It just happened,” Chen said through his interpreter, a wide grin on his face.
Chen also gets to keep the baseball.
“This is just like a dream come true,” he said after allowing two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. “This is my first win and it seems like this is a dream when I was in high school. It feels special. I can’t say any words at all.
“I feel like I’m really lucky tonight because compared to the last start, I didn’t have good command. I feel like the last start was pretty good. Today was not. It was so-so, so I feel like I’m lucky today. I think because it’s the first time they faced me, so they don’t know me much and today I’m still nervous, too. It’s my second start.”
Chen was cruising along until the sixth, just like his debut against the Yankees. He gave up two runs and three hits, walked a batter and threw a wild pitch before Darren O’Day replaced him and stranded runners on the corners.
“In the sixth inning I felt like I wasn’t letting go,” Chen said. “I felt too nervous and too cautious. I just didn’t feel good.”
Manager Buck Showalter had no complaints.
“We made a couple loud noises with the bats and made it stand up, and he was the key to the game,” Showalter said. “He was effective. He came over with somewhat of a changeup, but really as a third pitch, and Rick (Adair) and him have been working hard for a long time. Once you go through the order once or twice, you really need that third pitch to have some length to your outing. And that was key for him tonight.”
Nolan Reimold homered for the fourth time in his last four games played and also made two nice catches in left field.
“Nolan’s always been a good defender underway,” Showalter said. “He can track a ball and really make up some ground that a lot of people can’t once he gets underway. He and (Wayne) Kirby have worked hard on his breaks and some stuff that he does and it’s really good to see him get a return for it tonight because that was a big difference for us.
“We went through that homestand, a lot of crazy things going on with family and tickets and moving. These guys have heard me say it. Getting on the road and finally getting into a rhythm of the season is big for a lot of guys. It’s never been a question of skills. It’s been a question of health in a lot of cases with Nolan. It’s good to see him off to a good start.”
O’Day came up big, along with the rest of the bullpen.
“Darren’s not your typical guy who throws from that angle who can only defend himself against right-handed hitters,” Showalter said. “He’s another example of a guy who’s gotten his feet on the ground. He’s completely over his injury now, knock on wood, so it’s not in the back of his mind every time he cocks his arm. We can spread the load around if we continue to do this, and so far, so good.
“Troy (Patton) had a big out, too.”