Chen took a shutout into the seventh inning before Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield hit up the middle, Mike Napoli doubled on a towering fly ball to left-center field and Daniel Nava launched a fastball over the Green Monster in left.
“He was great,” said manager Buck Showalter. “One mistake. We didn’t do much offensively and both guys pitched really well up to that point without much margin for error. We got the tying run up there at the end.
“Boy, I was real proud of Wei-Yin. Lot of things working against him and he gave us a real good chance to win. I wish we could have gotten one for him. He deserved a W today.”
Chen was 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox last year, including two at Fenway Park, and Showalter wanted him on the mound this afternoon.
“It’s his third game here, and if everyone does their homework, left-handers and day games in Fenway, it’s kind of tough to see the ball,” Showalter said. “Plus, he had real good command. It worked well for him today. Wei-Yin pitches well anywhere, though. He’s been solid for us. I’m proud of him.”
Chen hasn’t posted a win in nine straight regular season starts, including his 2013 debut at Tropicana Field, when he allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“His stuff was great in both places,” Showalter said. “He should have won two ballgames. He’s been solid. Other than the first inning in Tampa and the start of the second, he’s been solid from there on out. I was impressed with him.”
Showalter didn’t use the shadows that crept across home plate as an excuse for the Orioles’ struggles against Boston right-hander Clay Buchholz.
“It’s not like they turn the lights on and off when they hit and we hit,” he said. “It’s part of the challenge of playing in the big leagues with the different start times to appease TV and the people who pay the salaries. We swung the bats well and they (the Twins) did, too, yesterday in some tough shadows, so it’s part of it. It’s another remarkable thing that people miss about the challenges these guys have to face up here.”
It’s not as though the Orioles lacked for scoring chances. They put the leadoff hitter on base in three of the first four innings. They stranded seven runners on the day.
“We just never put Buchholz on his heels much,” Showalter said. “We didn’t really put a lot of pressure on him, and he handled it well. He pitched real well. He and Chen matched up and locked up in a good one. You knew it was going to be a one-pitch fine margin.
“(Chen) gives up a ball that trickles through the middle of the diamond and a fly ball in most places that falls for a double, and he makes a mistake.”
Showalter wasn’t pleased when a reporter asked whether, with the Orioles’ designated hitters 1-for-23, we can expect the “Norfolk shuttle” to start up before Wednesday night’s game.
“No. What else?” he said. “It’s seven games. Come on, man. What else we got?”
Well, the Orioles weren’t below .500 last season and now they’re 3-4 and losers of three in a row. Too early to talk about streaks?
“You can, and probably will,” Showalter replied. “That’s OK. It’s fine. We’ll keep a grip on reality and realize what we’ve got ahead of us.”
Nolan Reimold has the only hit by an Orioles’ DH, and he’s expected to avoid the disabled list after leaving Sunday’s game with tightness in his right hamstring. However, he may not start until Thursday against Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront.
“We wouldn’t have kept him off the DL if we didn’t feel positive about it,” Showalter said. “The question is whether we give him Wednesday to make sure we’ve got him Thursday for the left-hander. But Nolan feels pretty good today and I feel confident we can stay away from the DL right now.”