Chen impressive in debut (Matusz gives up back-to-back home runs)

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Wei-Yin Chen worked two scoreless innings today in his Grapefruit League debut, allowing two singles on ground balls up the middle.

Chen threw 23 pitches, 17 for strikes. Left-hander Brian Matusz began to warm in the Orioles’ bullpen as Chen took the mound for the second inning.

Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist singled to center field leading off the bottom of the first, and Yunel Escobar did the same with two outs. In between, Kelly Johnson and Evan Longoria flew out to deep center field.

Manny Machado made a nice backhanded stop and throw to retire Ryan Roberts and end the inning. Chen threw 13 pitches, 10 for strikes. His fastball was mostly 88-90 mph, but he hit 91 mph.

Chen got two quick outs in the second on weak bouncers to short. James Loney fell behind 0-2 before lining to right field.

The hardest-hit balls off Chen resulted in three outs.

Ryan Flaherty doubled down the right-field line with one out in the top of the first, making him 3-for-9 this spring. Otherwise, Rays starter Alex Cobb has been in control, striking out five batters in three innings.

Alexi Casilla struck out to end the third. He’s fanned four times in 10 spring at-bats.

Matusz retired the side in order in the third, throwing six of his eight pitches for strikes. Sean Rodriguez flied to right, and Zobrist and Johnson bounced to second.

Update: While the Baltimore media was heading down to the visiting clubhouse to interview Chen, Matusz was allowing back-to-back home runs to Escobar and Roberts in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Escobar delivered a two-run shot after Longoria’s leadoff walk.

Tampa Bay 3, Orioles 0.

The Orioles wasted two-out singles by Travis Ishikawa and Luis Exposito in the fifth.

Trayvon Robinson and Xavier Avery have each struck out twice.

Tommy Hunter has entered the game in the bottom of the fifth.

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