Chen makes welcome return to O's rotation
Left-hander allows two runs with five strikeouts over six innings vs. Indians
BALTIMORE -- Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen expressed his frustration on Twitter when he was sent down to Class A Frederick on June 15, following a stellar outing against the Phillies, but returned to the rotation in a big way Friday night.
None of that frustration carried over against the Indians as Chen outdueled the reigning Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber in the Orioles' 4-3 victory.
Baltimore needed to make room for Chris Parmelee, who had to be promoted to avoid an opt-out clause in his contract. The Orioles also wanted to get Chen some extra rest by pitching in a shortened game for the Keys on his regularly scheduled day to start.
Nonetheless, Chen was not enamored with the idea. Following the demotion, he tweeted, "I am disappointed my routine is being interrupted. I will continue to work hard and do my best to perform. Thank you for all the support!"
Following the game, Chen was ready to put that frustration behind him.
"I didn't even think about it because that's something that's in the past," Chen said through an interpreter. "Today, I was just focusing on the game. That's all. Trying to get hitters out."
Chen was effective against Cleveland, allowing just two runs -- both on solo homers -- on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks. He was also able to snap a troublesome trend by becoming the first Orioles starter to throw at least six innings in the past seven games. He made his 100th career start for Baltimore, becoming only the second Taiwanese-born player to reach that milestone .
"I feel pretty good," Chen said. "It's just that during the game I made some mistakes. So, I allowed some extra-base hits and a couple of home runs."
Chen, who leads the club with nine quality starts, did not have the chance to speak to manager Buck Showalter since returning to the club on Friday. However, he was confident the two will retain a solid relationship.
"We haven't had a chance to talk today, but I don't think there is any problem," Chen said. "We talked before I got optioned. So, I don't think there's anything between us."
In his postgame news conference, Showalter also appeared to forget about Chen's recent frustration and lauded the left-hander's performance against Kluber. Chen did not pick up the win, but that did not overshadow the outing, which put the Orioles in position to get the go-ahead run in the eighth on a single by Chris Davis.
"You've got to have a real good pitching outing, which we got from Wei-Yin," Showalter said. "He was strong tonight and threw the ball well. You never feel like you solve Kluber. When you've got a No. 1 starter like that and he has the inning where he gives up [a run] and they go back out there and pitch another efficient inning at that pitch count, you know you've got something special there. That's impressive. We were talking about it in the dugout."