Chen balk translates into run (O’s lose 3-1)

Wei-Yin Chen’s eyes widened and his feet took him off the mound. With his arms held out, he paced the infield and offered a non-verbal plea to the umpires to reconsider the balk call in the sixth inning that advanced B.J. Upton to second base.

To no one’s surprise, it didn’t work.

Upton moved to second with no outs, took third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Jeff Keppinger’s broken-bat bloop single along the right field line.

Matt Joyce flied to deep center and Chris Davis made a diving catch in left to rob Sean Rodriguez. Chen headed back to the dugout, still in disbelief over the call and now trailing, 3-1.

Chen apparently moved his hands ever so slightly while getting the sign from catcher Matt Wieters.

Kevin Gregg was warming as the inning continued, but it appears that Chen will return for the seventh with his pitch count at 102. He’s currently working on the Orioles’ seventh consecutive quality start, but the offense has mustered only three hits - including the Adam Jones home run.

Nick Markakis doubled off the out-of-town scoreboard with one out in the sixth. I’ll be updating this entry if he crosses the plate. And yes, I’ll be checking to see whether third base coach DeMarlo Hale puts up the stop sign.

Chen has permitted three hits, walked three and struck out four.

Update: Chen gave the Orioles their seventh consecutive quality start by allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings. He gave up four hits, walked three, struck out five and committed a balk. He threw 109 pitches, 73 for strikes.

Chen still has only one win since June 17. The Orioles have scored three runs or fewer nine times in his last 13 starts.

Tonight’s attendance: 17,592

Update II: Rays closer Fernando Rodney walked J.J. Hardy and Jim Thome with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but Adam Jones and Matt Wieters struck out to complete the Orioles’ 3-1 loss.

Jones got ahead, 3-0, before whiffing.

The Orioles finished with only three hits. The rotation no longer seems to be an issue. The offense isn’t doing its part.

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