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Chen K's 8 but takes loss on quiet night

Left-hander continues to pitch well at Marlins Park with a 1.83 ERA
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Whatever it is at home, it's worked the entire first half for Wei-Yin Chen. The road is another matter.

Chen was once again on point at Marlins Park on Friday, but Miami's offense wasn't able to generate anything off Jake Arrieta. The veteran right-hander threw seven shutout innings, and backed by Aaron Altherr's RBI double and Maikel Franco's home run, the Phillies beat the Marlins, 2-0, in the series opener.

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MIAMI -- Whatever it is at home, it's worked the entire first half for Wei-Yin Chen. The road is another matter.

Chen was once again on point at Marlins Park on Friday, but Miami's offense wasn't able to generate anything off Jake Arrieta. The veteran right-hander threw seven shutout innings, and backed by Aaron Altherr's RBI double and Maikel Franco's home run, the Phillies beat the Marlins, 2-0, in the series opener.

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It was a tough-luck loss for Chen, who threw six innings, allowing one run while striking out a season-high eight batters.

"Wei-Yin was really good," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "The first couple of innings they got some hits. But after that, he seemed to find a little groove. He was really kind of lights-out the rest of the night."

For Chen, the first half was as different as night and day. In seven home starts, the lefty had an ERA of 1.83, but on the road, it ballooned to 10.47.

Video: PHI@MIA: Chen strikes out Hernandez, side in the 5th

"I really can't explain it," Chen said. "This is a place I am familiar with. Maybe it's the weather, the environment, the ballpark. I feel like I can control more stuff that I want to. Maybe on the road, I am trying too hard. Whatever the reason is, there seems to be stuff I am trying to control, but I haven't been able to on the road."

All the support Arrieta needed came in the second inning, when the Phillies scratched out a run on Altherr's two-out, RBI double. Franco's home run came off Brad Ziegler with two out in the ninth.

Chen got into some trouble in the third, allowing a leadoff single to Cesar Hernandez, who was thrown out by left fielder Garrett Cooper attempting to stretch it into a double. Rhys Hoskins walked, but after that, the Marlins' left-hander retired 10 straight and 11 of his last 12, before exiting after 90 pitches.

Video: PHI@MIA: Cooper makes strong throw to nab Hernandez

The Marlins managed just three hits on the night, all against Arrieta, who was effective, and struck out just three. Arrieta induced nine ground-ball and two fly-ball outs.

"We got a run in the second, looked like we were going to be able to get to Chen tonight," Arrieta said. "But then he kinda locked it in. I've got some history with him, I know him pretty well, he's that kind of guy. If you let him kind of settle in, he's got the ability to get something going and use some momentum in his favor and pitch well, as he did."

Chen and Arrieta were once teammates with the Orioles, and the two set the tone on Friday for a briskly played game that lasted two hours, 34 minutes.

"I used to sit on the bench and watch him pitch against another team," Chen said. "Tonight, I was pitching against him, and we both got a chance to step in the box and face each other."

Video: PHI@MIA: Bour dives to nab Santana in the 8th

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Out at home: The way Arrieta was dealing, the Marlins didn't have any serious scoring chances until the sixth inning. Cameron Maybin walked with one out, and pinch-hitter Derek Dietrich lined a long drive that nearly cleared the wall in front of the Phillies' bullpen.

Dietrich didn't miss a two-run home run by much, but the ball bounced high off the wall for a double. Maybin, attempting to score from first, ended up being thrown out at the plate. Altherr, who switched from center to right in the same inning, made the throw to shortstop Scott Kingery, who threw home to Jorge Alfaro, who applied the tag on Maybin's leg as he attempted to score standing up.

"I thought I was running fine," Maybin said. "Looking back at it, I probably could take a better secondary [lead]. I take a lot of pride in how I run the bases. I think right there, I could have a gained a little ground on my secondary. But I felt like, in my heart, I read it right."

Mattingly added that Starlin Castro, who was on deck, wasn't in position to tell Maybin to either slide or stand up.

"If I could do it again, maybe I'd try to slide right there, a head-first slide," Maybin said. "Just part of the game. A tough play."

Video: PHI@MIA: Altherr, Kingery nab Maybin at the dish

SOUND SMART
Cooper, playing left field, recorded his first big league outfield assist. It came in the third inning when Hernandez attempted to stretch a single to a double. Cooper made an accurate throw to Castro at second, who applied the tag. It was the Marlins' 14th outfield assist of the season.

HE SAID IT
"Back in the day, in Baltimore, he kept bragging about how good his hitting was. I was happy I was able to strike him out twice, and not get struck out by him. That's a good thing. Maybe I didn't pitch better than him, but I did better than him on hitting." -- Chen, joking about facing former teammate Arrieta

UP NEXT
Rookie Trevor Richards makes his final appearance before the All-Star break on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. The right-hander faces the Phillies for the second time. He took a no-decision in a Miami win on April 8 in Philadelphia. All-Star Aaron Nola goes for the Phillies.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Wei-Yin Chen