Catcher Matt Wieters is back in the Orioles lineup tonight after resting on Tuesday. And his hot streak continues.
Wieters just belted a two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead over the Royals.
Wieters is now 10-for-23 with two doubles, two homers, four RBIs and six runs scored in his last six games.
The first inning has been much kinder to Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen compared to last season.
Chen posted a 5.91 ERA and allowed seven home runs in the first inning of his 32 starts in 2012. In the opening frame this year, he registered a 1.80 ERA in his 10 starts and did not permit a home run.
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer took him deep in the first tonight. So much for that stat.
This is Chen’s first start at Kauffman Stadium.
With runners on base, Chen had held opponents to a .175 average (17-for-97) before tonight, the second-lowest average among American League starters. Boston’s Clay Buchholz has held them to a .139 average.
When Chen pitches five innings or fewer, the Orioles have lost seven of 10 games. But they’re 22-10 when he works 5 1/3 or more, including an 11-0 mark when he goes seven or more. Chen is 9-0 in those 11 outings.
Chen has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 32 of his first 42 major league starts. He’s allowed two or less 26 times, and one 11 times. He’s held opponents scoreless in five of his 42 career starts.
In the first five games of this road trip, Orioles pitchers have held opposing batters to a .146 average (6-for-41) with runners in scoring position and stranded 43 runners on base. The Royals have stranded one tonight. They don’t have an at-bat with RISP, since Chen has retired 11 in a row.
The Orioles have made 31 errors in 101 games, which puts them on pace to make 50 errors in 162 games. The major league record for fewest errors in a 162-game season is 65 by the 2003 Seattle Mariners.
Update: The Orioles picked up a big insurance run in the top of the eighth on Adam Jones’ fielder’s choice grounder that scored Brian Roberts.
Orioles 3, Kansas City 1
Chen has allowed one run in seven innings. In three starts since coming off the disabled list, he’s permitted only three runs over 20 1/3 innings.
That’s good, right?
Chen is trying to give the Orioles’ their 10th quality start in their last 11 games.
Update II: Chen did, indeed, give the Orioles their 10th quality start in 11 games, but Hosmer’s second home run of the night tied the game in the eighth.
Chen is done after 107 pitches, the last one a 92 mph fastball that Hosmer crushed to right-center field. He’s homered twice tonight and driven in all three Kansas City runs.
Chen allowed three home runs over his first 10 starts. Tonight marks his first multi-homer game this season.