Chen throws gem as the O’s win Seattle series opener

The Orioles used a big three-run homer and a fourth straight strong starting pitching performance to win their series opener at Seattle tonight.

Wei-Yin Chen pitched eight scoreless innings and Delmon Young backed him with a three-run homer as the Orioles beat the Mariners 4-0 at Safeco Field.

With the win, the Orioles improved to 4-3 on this road trip and to 56-45 on the year. They maintain a three-game lead atop the American League East over New York and Toronto after those clubs posted wins this afternoon.

chen-pitching-black-back-sidebar.jpgChen allowed just five hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He improves to 11-3 with an ERA of 3.92. Chen threw 109 pitches and the eight-inning outing matches his career high.

Chen allowed only singles tonight and is 4-0 with an ERA of 2.92 over his last four starts.

Over the last four games against the A’s and Mariners, Orioles starters have pitched to an ERA of 1.27 allowing just four earned runs over 28 1/3 innings. This is the club’s eighth shutout of the season.

Young was 2-for-5 with a homer in his career against Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma and manager Buck Showalter gave Young his first start since July 6 tonight and it paid off.

Ryan Flaherty and Caleb Joseph led off the top of the third with singles and a Nick Markakis single scored Flaherty for a 1-0 lead. Then Young hit a three-run homer to left on the next pitch for the 4-0 lead. Two pitches and the Orioles had four runs. Young connected on an 79 mph slider that Iwakuma left up for Young’s fourth homer.

Iwakuma entered this start with a 8-4 record and 2.95 ERA. In four July starts, he was 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA and five runs allowed over 28 2/3 innings. Tonight he took the loss, going seven innings allowing seven hits and four runs on 96 pitches.

The Orioles won for the 10th time in 15 games and for the 14th time in 20 games. They are 30-18 since May 31 and improved their road record to 30-22.

The Orioles are 15-7 against Seattle since 2011 and they are now 15-9 against the AL West this year.

Kevin Gausman (4-3, 4.04 ERA) faces Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.02) the AL leader in ERA in the second game of this series on Friday night.

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