Orioles' Chen pitches 6 perfect innings but fails to get 8th win
By Joseph Yeh, The China Post July 5, 2012, 12:36 am TWN
The China Post--Baltimore Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen's six-plus perfect innings were not enough to secure a perfect game Tuesday as the lefty's hopes for his eighth win were dashed despite a better-than-ever outing that ultimately ended in another no-decision.
But Robert Andino's ninth-inning go-ahead solo home run saved Chen's superb effort, giving Baltimore a 5-4 edge over the Seattle Mariners.
The 26-year-old Major League rookie almost made history Tuesday by taking a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Mariners until a homer dashed his hopes.
Casper Wells sent a one-out full-count pitch into the left-field stands, ending Chen's hope for a perfect game.
Despite coming up short of a perfect game, the Taiwan-native left-hander still dominated on the mound in his best outing in his rookie season so far, allowing only two hits in a season-high 7-1/3-inning performance.
He also set a new career high in strikeouts with nine in 97 pitches. Seventy-three of the pitches were strikes.
"This was probably the first time since I came to the States that I really felt good about my slider," Chen said.
"And once I established my first-pitch strike, I could easily execute my off-speed pitches."
After a standing ovation from fans in Seattle, Chen was replaced in the eighth after a one-out double, turning the ball over to reliever Pedro Strop when Baltimore was enjoying 4-1 lead in the eighth.
Strop, however, could not preserve Chen's possible eighth win, allowing an inherited runner to score.
Unable to find his mark, he continued to give one wild and ineffective pitch after another and surrendered three singles and walked another, allowing the Mariners to tie the game 4-4. Manager Buck Showalter was forced to take him out in favor of Darren O'Day, who ended the disastrous inning with a fly out.
With the score tied and the O's facing another possible devastating loss, Andino delivered a solo homer off red-hot Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush to lift his team over Seattle.
"Pedro's been doing a great job for us this year," Showalter said. "Some of it has been on the edge. That's one of those things where he hasn't gone in three days. Usually after two days, his command suffers a little bit."
Andino's clutch hitting gave the Orioles a badly needed victory. Tuesday's win is the O's fourth in their last 14 games.
Chen is now 7-4 with a 3.64 ERA.
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