Valencia offers support for Chen (O's lose 3-2)

Wei-Yin Chen has held the Mariners to one run over six innings. He's in line for his fifth consecutive quality start since coming off the disabled list.

Whether he picks up another win is another matter.

The odds just improved, thanks to an unlikely source.

The Orioles hadn't score a run for him through five innings, going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranding eight runners against left-hander Joe Saunders. But Steve Pearce walked to lead off the bottom of the sixth and Danny Valencia homered to left-center field to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead.

Valencia was 0-for-23 before doubling in the fourth. He hadn't homered for the Orioles since June 13 against Boston.

Valencia arrived in Baltimore from Norfolk today at 4 a.m. He admitted to being a little tired, but he welcomed the chance to serve as the Orioles' designated hitter today.

Way to make the most of an opportunity.

Chen has allowed one run and four hits in six innings, with one walk and four strikeouts. He's thrown 88 pitches, 64 for strikes.

The Orioles had scored 49 runs in Chen's last 19 starts before today while he was still in the game. They had scored three runs or fewer 23 times in his last 37 starts while he was pitching.

They haven't broken out the heavy lumber today, but at least they've finally given him a lead.

Update: Chen walked Brendan Ryan with two outs in the seventh - a .188 hitter - and Henry Blanco homered to give Seattle a 3-2 lead.

Blanco, hitting ninth today, is batting .182 with three homers this season. He was down 0-2 in the count before jumping on a fastball.

Saunders is done after six innings and is in line for the win, largely because the Orioles are 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and have stranded eight.

Chen allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings, with three walks, five strikeouts and one home run. He threw 110 pitches, 78 for strikes.

Troy Patton is replacing Chen, who picked up another quality start, but failed miserably against the weakest part of the Mariners' lineup.

Update II: So much for a happy flight to the West Coast.

The Orioles go 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and strand eight runners in a 3-2 loss to the Mariners. Chen walks a guy hitting .188 and gives up a home run to a guy who's now hitting .182.

The Orioles fall to 61-51 and have lost eight of their last 12 games.

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