Just as he did in Kansas City, Orioles manager Buck Showalter allowed left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to return for the eighth inning tonight at Camden Yards.
Just as he did in Kansas City, Showalter allowed Chen to face a left-handed hitter with the tying run on base.
The second-guessers where sharpening their knives, or at least their tongues, but Chen didn’t repeat his mistake in Kansas City, when Eric Hosmer homered in the Royals’ 4-3 victory.
Chen struck out Astros catcher Jason Castro on his career-high 119th pitch and left the mound to a rousing ovation.
Chen hadn’t thrown more than 107 pitches in any start this season, but he stayed in the game after Jose Altuve’s leadoff single while Darren O’Day continued to warm in the Orioles’ bullpen. Flashbacks for everybody. And Chen rewarded Showalter’s continued faith in him.
Chen allowed three runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings, with one walk and nine strikeouts. O’Day stranded Altuve at second base by retiring pinch-hitter Brett Wallace. He also struck out Chris Carter.
Chen has recorded nine quality starts among his 12 outings, including four in a row. The Orioles are 11-1 in his career when he works seven or more innings.
Jim Johnson is warming in the bullpen.
Tonight’s attendance: 24,904
Update: Jim Johnson recorded his 36th save, and the Orioles posted their lowest hit total of the season in a winning effort, defeating the Astros 4-3.
The previous low was five hits. They hadn’t won while recording three hits or fewer since Oct. 2, 2012.
The Orioles improve to 14-16 in one-run games.