Wei-Yin Chen became the first Orioles starter to go seven innings this season and took it one step beyond that, pitching them to a 3-0 win over the Oakland A’s tonight in game two of the series.
After going 3-16 the last five years at Oakland, the Birds are 2-0 there in 2013.
Chen went eight superb innings, a career high, allowing just two hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 106 pitches in improving to 2-2 with an ERA of 2.53 after his fourth straight quality start.
It was another strong outing for Chen against Oakland. Last season, he went 2-0 with an ERA of 0.71 in two starts against the A’s.
The Orioles’ last complete-game shutout was pitched by Jason Hammel last June 16 at Atlanta.
Orioles starters in this series have pitched a combined 14 innings, allowing five hits and two unearned runs after Hammel pitched six strong innings last night.
Jim Johnson pitched the ninth to complete a three-hitter and record his ninth save in nine chances on the season. It was his 30th consecutive save dating to last July 30 and that leaves him four short of Randy Myers’ team record of 34 straight saves in 1997.
The Orioles broke the scoreless tie in the top of the seventh. J.J. Hardy led off with a single and advanced to second on an error by A’s right fielder Josh Reddick. One out later, he came in on a Steve Pearce single to center.
Pearce began the game hitting just .136, but he is now 3-for-8 when batting with runners in scoring position and has four RBIs over his last four games. The Orioles were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position until Pearce’s single.
The Orioles, who missed some key scoring chances earlier, added two big insurance runs in the ninth. One run scored on a Jed Lowrie error and the second on a Nick Markakis sac fly.
With the win, the Orioles improved to 14-9, going five games over .500 for the first time this year. They have won seven of the last nine games and 11 of the past 16 since a 3-4 start.
A win in one of the two remaining games at Oakland and the O’s would win their first series there since July 20-22, 2007.