The Baltimore Orioles saw their staff ace Wei-Yin Chen pick up back-to-back wins for the first time since June 17 in yesterday's 4-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Chen was brilliant last night in Tampa Bay and finished the evening going seven strong allowing just five hits and no earned runs while striking out four. Chen picked up his team leading tenth victory of the season and saw his ERA drop to 3.46 on the season which is good for 13th in American League. Pedro Strop came on for Chen and allowed two runners to reach base but worked a scoreless eighth nonetheless. Orioles Closer Jim Johnson came on to work the ninth inning and worked a perfect ninth. Last night's victory was extremely reminiscent of the way the Oriole had been winning games during the first half of the season. That strategy was to get the starting pitcher through seven innings then turning the game over Strop and Johnson in the eighth and ninth to finish the game off.
The offense finished the game yesterday with ten hits including a barrage of RBI singles. Matt Wieters got the scoring started in the first inning with an RBI single to right field scoring Nick Markakis who reached base with a lead-off walk. Wieters finished the night 1-3 with that RBI single and a walk and Wieters also stole two bases. It was his first steal since June 28 and only the fourth steal of his career. Wieters also had a great game behind the plate throwing out Sam Fuld at third base in the bottom of the fifth inning. Markakis added an RBI single of his own in the top of the second inning and finished the night 1-3 with two runs scored and two walks in addition to the RBI single. Markakis continues to flourish in the lead-off spot and may have found a permanent home in that role. Chris Davis continues to swing a hot bat and picked up two more hits and two more RBI'S yesterday as he extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Nate McLouth made his Orioles debut last night in left field and went 2-4 scoring a run. McLouth becomes seemingly the 1000th Orioles player to start a game in left field this season. Some of the others include Nolan Reimold, Ryan Flaherty, Xavier Avery, Chris Davis, Endy Chavez, Steve Pearce, Steve Tollleson, Bill Hall, and Lew Ford. Not exactly any world beaters on that list. The Orioles are hoping McLouth can regain his 2008 form when he notched career highs with 26 HRS and 96 RBI'S for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, aside from that season, McLouth's career highs in those departments are just 13 and 38.
The Birds send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound in Tampa Bay today as he looks to build off of his last start, a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees. Gonzalez will be searching for back-to-back wins for the fist time in his young Major League career. Gonzalez's only career start against the Rays was on July 25 and he lasted just 2 2/3 innings giving up seven earned runs in a 10-1 Orioles loss. Tampa Bay will send staff ace David Price to the hill searching for his Major League leading 15th win of the season. He is 2-0 against the Orioles this season and hasn't lost a start since June 13.
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