O’s use early offense and Chen’s seven scoreless to blank Tampa Bay

Coming into tonight, the Orioles were in need of some hits with runners in scoring position and some quality starts.

They got both in a 4-0 win over Tampa Bay that evens this series at one win each and pulls the Birds back into a second-place tie with the Rays, 6 1/2 games back of the Yankees.

After going 0-for-22 the past two games when batting with RISP, the Orioles went 4-for-9 over the first four innings tonight as they moved out to an early 4-0 lead.

Matt Wieters came up with an RBI single in the first and Nick Markakis added one in the second for a 2-0 lead. Chris Davis’ two-run single in the fourth made it 4-0 and Davis now has 12 RBIs over his last nine games.

Wei-Yin Chen was outstanding, giving up just five singles over seven innings with one walk and four strikeouts. He provided the club with just its second quality start in 10 games.

Chen has not allowed an earned run over 12 2/3 innings in his last two starts and is now 3-1 with an ERA of 1.95 in five starts since the All-Star break. Chen becomes the Orioles’ first 10-game winner, improving to 10-6 with an ERA of 3.46 on the year.

This was the Orioles’ fifth shutout of the season and first since they posted two in a row at Atlanta from June 16-17.

The Orioles improved to 40-7 when they get a quality start this season and 24-2 when their starter pitches seven innings or more.

The Orioles had scored just two runs total in their last three losses against Tampa Bay, which sported an ERA of 2.38 this season against the Orioles coming into this game.

The Orioles improve to 5-6 against Tampa Bay, 31-25 on the road, 21-19 against the AL East and 56-51 on the year.

In the minors tonight: Manny Machado hit for the cycle for Double-A Bowie as the Baysox beat Trenton 8-7. Machado saved the best for last, hitting a two-run homer in the last of the eighth to complete the cycle and put Bowie up by that 8-7 score.

From July 13-28, Machado hit just .132 in a 15-game stretch. But with tonight’s 4-for-4 effort he is now 11-for-20 over his past five games with three doubles, a triple, two homers and five RBIs.

He is the first Bowie player to hit for the cycle since Lou Montanez did it on Aug. 1, 2008.

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