“Yeah, definitely this was my best outing,” Chen said through his interpreter. “This was definitely the best outing of this year.”
Chen kept Texas off the board until the fourth inning and wound up pitching a career-high 7 2/3, allowing six hits and two runs and improving to 3-0 with an ERA of 2.68 on the season.
He did against a Texas team that had scored 14 and 10 runs in the first two games of this series with 34 hits and eight homers.
“This was a really tough lineup. Because I’m a new guy, they don’t know me that much. But, on the other hand, I felt really, really good today and I had really good command and everything was working. I didn’t think about it too much, I just went pitch-by-pitch today,” he said.
He was asked about giving the Orioles a much-needed long outing after their starters had allowed 18 earned runs over 15 2/3 the past three games.
“This was my first experience with a doubleheader. In Japan we don’t have doubleheaders. After seven innings, I told the pitching coach I wanted to keep pitching. I wanted to help the team,” Chen said.
He also kept Josh Hamilton in the ballpark today in the encore to his four-homer game. Hamilton went 1-for-4 against Chen. The lefty got Hamilton to fly to left on a 1-2 pitch with the bases loaded to end the top of the third inning.
“I didn’t think about it too much. I just tried to keep the ball down and not be afraid to walk him. I had a really good catcher behind me, and he guided me well today,” Chen said.
The Orioles are now 5-1 in Chen’s six starts.