Back-to-back beauties from Orioles’ rotation (O’s win 4-3)

Tommy Hunter held the Twins to one run over 7 1/3 innings last night. Wei-Yin Chen allowed three runs in seven innings today.

In case you don’t recognize it, those are back-to-back quality starts from the Orioles’ rotation.

Chen hasn’t won since June 17 in Atlanta, a game I listened to on WBAL Radio on my drive back home from Ocean Pines. I listened to most of today’s start on my return trip, arriving at my destination seconds before Mark Reynolds blooped a two-run single into center field in the eighth inning to line up Chen for that elusive victory.

Maybe it’s better for Chen if I listen to him instead of watch him.

The Orioles were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position through seven innings, and Jim Thome’s double play grounder could have been the last gasp. But Reynolds, a guy who can hit a ball 500 feet, dropped a single in front of Twins center fielder Denard Span, who didn’t get a good jump on the ball.

Chen deserved to win his last start, of course, after limiting the Tigers to one run over six innings. Jim Johnson blew the save in the ninth and the Orioles prevailed in the 13th.

Chen threw 21 pitches in the first inning Saturday, which hurt his chances of getting deeper into the game. Today, he threw 28 in the opening frame.

Now, it’s up to the bullpen to hold this lead, and the Twins are threatening in the eighth. Darren O’Day issued a walk and Troy Patton gave up a single.

Two relievers, two batters faced, no outs.

As I wrote this morning, O’Day posted a 13.50 ERA in his last three games before today, with four runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings. He’s got an 11.12 ERA in his last seven games, with seven runs and 14 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

He’s responsible for the potential tying run being on base. And second-guessers everywhere can wonder why Pedro Strop didn’t start the inning instead of inheriting this mess.

Update: Strop got out of it on a foul pop up, a fielder’s choice grounder and a shallow fly ball to center field.

Were you nervous as Wilson Betemit chased that ball near the stands? It’s OK to admit it.

Betemit wasn’t charged with an error in the first, but his failure to catch Matt Wieters’ throw led to a stolen base and a Twins run.

Chris Davis dropped a fly ball for the Orioles’ 80th error this season, most in the majors, but it didn’t cost Chen a run.

Update II: Jim Johnson picked up his 28th save and his second in two nights, as the Orioles held on for a 4-3 victory.

The Orioles are 37-0 when leading after eight innings. They’re 18-6 in one-run games.

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