For the second start in a row since returning from the disabled list, Wei-Yin Chen faced the Texas Rangers. For the second start in a row, he pitched the O’s to a win over Texas.
Chen gave up just one run tonight as the Orioles beat the Rangers 3-1 in the opener of a three-game road series to begin the second half.
The O’s needed to win to keep pace with the top two clubs in the AL East, as Boston and Tampa Bay also won tonight. The Orioles improved to 54-43 with their fifth win in six games.
Chen had given up just one run in seven innings in the last start against Texas. Tonight, over 6 1/3 innings, he allowed eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Chen improved to 5-3 with an ERA of 2.67 over 10 starts.
Chen is 3-0 with an ERA of 1.29 in three career starts against Texas.
This was the fifth quality start by an O’s starter over the last six games. The starters’ ERA is 3.43 in that stretch and the O’s are 5-1 in those games.
Matt Wieters plated the O’s first run of the second half with a solo homer to left in the second off losing pitcher Derek Holland for a 1-0 lead. It was his 13th of the year.
The O’s made it 2-0 an inning later. Brian Roberts drew a walk and scored on a Nate McLouth RBI double. Up 2-1, the O’s added to their lead on a Nick Markakis RBI double in the fifth to make it 3-1. Markakis had just one RBI over his last 16 games before that double.
The Orioles bullpen, which had pitched to an ERA of 2.02 over its last 17 games, closed out the win. Darren O’Day pitched 1 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth to record his major league-leading 34th save.
With this victory, Buck Showalter becomes the fourth manager in major league history to post 250 or more wins with four different teams as he joins Joe Torre, Gene Mauch and Dick Williams on that list.
So the O’s take the second half opener and now in game 2 of this series on Saturday night, it’s Miguel Gonzalez (7-3, 3.48 ERA) pitching for the Orioles and Ross Wolf (1-2, 2.14 ERA) for Texas.