Chen gets through the first unscathed (McLouth gives O’s 4-3 victory)

Wei-Yin Chen allowed 19 runs in the first inning before tonight, the most of any inning. He retired the White Sox in order, getting two fly balls and striking out Adam Dunn.

Maybe that’s a good sign.

The Orioles tried to give him a lead in the bottom of the first, getting a leadoff single by Nick Markakis and a two-out single by Matt Wieters. Markakis was thrown out at the plate after a pitch from left-hander Francisco Liriano bounced away from catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Markakis began the night batting .337 with an .890 OPS in 41 games as the leadoff hitter.

The Orioles are 89-73 in their last 162 games.

Tommy Hunter retired the side in order in the first inning at Double-A Bowie.

Wilson Betemit took batting practice today with the Orioles.

“When I came in yesterday, they told me I would take live BP today and tomorrow, and Wednesday I would go out on rehab,” he said. “I want to see because I didn’t get a chance to hit outside in Florida. They said today to see how it feels.”

Betemit is expected to report to Bowie on Wednesday. He isn’t sure when he’ll be activated from the disabled list.

“I have to hit first and see what they tell me and when I’m ready,” he said.

Update: Lew Ford, who was batting when Markakis was thrown out to end the bottom of the first inning, led off the second with a home run to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

Ford’s ball barely squeezed inside the right-field foul pole, his first homer since July 29, 2007 at Cleveland.

This is Ford’s second start, and fifth at-bat, since Aug. 12.

Also, reliever J.C. Romero elected free agency after being designated for assignment last week.

Update II: Hunter was perfect through 4 2/3 innings and he had a no-hitter for 5 1/3 before giving up a single. He’s allowed one hit, walked one and struck out three in six innings.

Chen has allowed no runs and three hits in five innings, with no walks and six strikeouts. He’s thrown 81 pitches, 58 for strikes.

The Orioles continue to lead, 1-0, in the bottom of the fifth. They squandered a few chances to provide a bigger cushion for Chen.

Update III: You had to see this coming.

Chen committed an error with no outs in the sixth and Kevin Youkilis followed with a two-run homer to give Chicago a 2-1 lead.

Chen has surrendered 21 home runs this season.

Update IV: The Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, and Nate McLouth walked with the count full to tie the game.

Still loaded, still no outs... and the Orioles couldn’t score again.

Manny Machado bounced into a 5-2 force, Robert Andino struck out - making him 1-for-26 - and Markakis grounded out.

Liriano was removed after walking Wieters and giving up a single to Ford, putting runners on the corners. Jesse Crain walked Mark Reynolds and McLouth to force in a run.

On the force at home, A.J. Pierzynski didn’t try for the double play despite appearing to have a play at first. Crain kept pointing to the bag, and Pierzynski finally glared back and shouted something to the reliever.

Anyway, the Orioles again squandered a chance to break open the game.

Hunter has a one-hit shutout through eight innings at Bowie.

Tonight’s attendance: 10,995.

Update V: The White Sox took the lead against Pedro Strop in the top of the eighth on three straight singles, the last from Adam Dunn when Andino charged the ball, had no play at the plate and had nobody covering first. But McLouth’s two-run homer in the bottom half has given the Orioles a 4-3 lead.


Reynolds drew his third walk and McLouth followed with a deep drive to right off Brett Myers, his second homer with the Orioles.

Ford and McLouth with home runs tonight, Yeah, it’s that kind of season.

Update VI: Jim Johnson notched his 40th save, and the Orioles set a franchise record by winning their 13th straight one-run game.

The Orioles are 57-1 when leading after eight innings and 1-0 when Ford and McLouth homer on the same night.

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