Chen leaves with injury as O’s beat Twins to win another series

The Orioles won another game. They won another series. They won again on the road. But did they lose a starting pitcher?

Wei-Yin Chen pitched five shutout innings today in the Orioles’ 6-0 win over Minnesota, but he left the game with a strained right oblique.

Chen appeared on his way to going deep into a game for an O’s staff that could have used it. Orioles starters had pitched just eight innings in this series and had allowed 16 earned runs over 14 innings in the last three games.

Now Chen is hurt, and we’ll find out later if he has to join Miguel Gonzalez on the disabled list and what that means for the rotation in the short term.

Chen did get the win today and is now 3-3 with an ERA of 3.04 after giving up five hits with no walks and three strikeouts. O’s starters had an ERA of 10.03 in their first five games against the Twins this year.

This is the Orioles’ second shutout of the season. They blanked Oakland on the road April 26; Chen started that game, pitching eight scoreless.

The Orioles took an early lead on Chris Davis’ two-run homer in the first and led 4-0 after three innings. For Davis, that was No. 11 on the year and his 43rd homer over his last 161 games since April 25, 2012. Davis added an RBI groundout in the fifth for a three-RBI day.

Adam Jones and Steve Pearce added solo homers for the Orioles, who scored 20 runs this series after scoring just 11 in the previous Kansas City series.

Manny Machado had a third straight three-hit day, going 3-for-5 with a double. Machado went 9-for-16 (.563) in this series with two doubles and two RBIs. He is now batting .402 over his last 20 games and .331 on the season.

Machado is the first Oriole with three straight three-hit games since Melvin Mora did it Aug. 13-15, 2008. The only Orioles to have four straight three-hit games are Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray and Don Buford. Machado will try to join them Tuesday at Camden Yards.

The last player to have three hits in three straight games under age 21 was Pittsburgh’s Rennie Stennett in September of 1971. Yes the kid keeps impressing.

By winning the series-deciding game, the Orioles have now won three straight, and seven of their last eight, series. They are 5-2 in road series and 9-3 in their 12 series on the season.

Since July 29, 2012 the Orioles are 64-35 (.646) for the best record in MLB since that date.

Yes, they even extended another streak today. They have now won their last 109 consecutive regular season games when leading after seven innings.

New York won today and Boston lost, so the AL East standings show the Yankees in first place by one game over the Orioles with the Red Sox two games back.

The Orioles improved their road record to 14-9 and their overall record to 23-15. After an off-day Monday, they begin a three-team, eight-game homestand Tuesday night against San Diego with Chris Tillman (3-1, 3.76 ERA) on the mound at 7:05 p.m.

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