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Nationals deny Wei-Yin Chen his eighth victory

Despite Chien-Ming Wang's words of encouragement at the start of the Washington Nationals-Baltimore Orioles series, Wei-Yin Chen could not earn his eighth win as starting pitcher for the Orioles on Saturday. The Orioles were defeated by the Nationals 3-1, with Chen giving up a total of three runs in six hits, and two walks in five innings, essentially waving his much anticipated win good-bye.

Following a strong first inning, Chen slumped on the grass in disbelief as he watched his teammate Wilson Betemit give up their defense easily on an errant throw to first baseman Mark Reynolds in the second inning. The error was fatal, granting the Nationals a 2-0 lead, not to mention marking the 63rd error for the team. The error did not stop the Nationals as Adam LaRoche added one more with his solo homer on the Taiwanese pitcher's fastball. Chen ended the night with five innings and a cracked nail, the shortest outing he'd turned in since his 4-1/3 innings in Washington on May 20.

Though it may have seemed bad for the 26-year-old Taiwanese pitcher, manager Buck Showalter commented otherwise. “He should have given up, what, one run?” Showalter said, indicating the errant two runs should not be blamed on Chen. The manager also added that because Chen already cracked a nail on his index finger with 90 pitches, he was pretty much done for the night. “He pitched well enough to win,” said Showalter. Commenting on the solo homer, Chen admitted the pitch was a tad easy to hit. “I wanted a strike too badly and ended up pitching an easy-to-hit ball,” he said.

Baltimore's sluggish defensive performance was not the only problem that night.

Around 46,000 fans filed into the Baltimore stadium Camden Yards on Saturday only to be disappointed by the Orioles' poor offensive plays. The starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals, Edwin Jackson, pitched at full force for 6-1/3 innings, retiring the first 12 batters before finally allowing a ground ball by Adam Jones in the second inning. The excellent defensive play from the Nationals kept shutting out the Orioles until the bottom seventh, when Adam Jones finally delivered a solo homer. That would be the first and only run for the Orioles.

The Orioles are now two wins short of the top-ranked New York Yankees in the American League Eastern Division. The loss will be recorded as Chen's third for the season, and coincidentally, his second loss to the Nationals. He is now 7-3 with an ERA of 3.38. When asked about his loss to the Nationals, Chen remained positive. “Its not that depressing. I just need to practice more and make some adjustments. It's not over yet. There's still a long season to go,” he said.

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Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, of Taiwan, throws to the Washington Nationals in the third inning of an interleague baseball game in Baltimore, Saturday. (AP/AFP)



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