It's become a pretty simple formula during the three-year Orioles career of left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. If he gets through seven innings, the Orioles win. Almost every time.
On Friday, in the Orioles' 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners, Chen pitched into the eighth inning in one of his more impressive outings of the season, allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out a season-high eight batters.
The Orioles bullpen, including newcomer Andrew Miller, took over after that to secure the Orioles' ninth win in 14 games in the season's second half.
Chen (12-3) has won five straight while matching his major league high in victories. He's 15-1 in games in which he has pitched at least seven innings in his career, and the Orioles are 18-2 in the 20 times Chen has done that.
"Well I feel good out there, but Caleb 1/8Joseph3/8 really helped me out there, including the last game," Chen said. "He called a really good game for me and that's the reason why I can pitch such a good game out there. ... I think today my fastball had pretty good life and sometimes I couldn't even control it. I think that's one of the reasons that helped my slider get so many strikeouts."
The one run allowed by Chen on Friday nearly didn't score. Robinson Cano attempted to score on Kendrys Morales' double to left in the fourth inning. Cano might have been out at the plate, but catcher Caleb Joseph couldn't hold onto the relay throw.
Chen didn't give up a run after that. He was pitching on seven-days' rest after shutting down the Mariners over eight scoreless innings on July 24.
"He was working on some extra rest and we've always got a real good return for that," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I'll tell you, it's tough when you have as good an outing as he had in Seattle to come back against that same team and have another good outing. That's tough. It's legit stuff. He was real crisp tonight. I thought his breaking ball had some depth. He's been solid for us. The results have been good from a team standpoint and that's what matters."
The Orioles (61-47) are 22-17 in one-run games this season and 4-1 against the Mariners (56-53).
The Orioles scored first on a single up the middle by Manny Machado that brought home Delmon Young, who had doubled. Young's double was the first extra-base hit against 25-year-old Seattle rookie Roenis Elias.
The Cuban left-hander, who was making his 22nd big league start, had faced the Orioles once before, allowing one run in five innings Sunday in Seattle.
He duplicated that Friday night but ran into trouble in the sixth. Machado led off the inning with a double that nearly cleared the grounds crew shed in right. Adam Jones then hit a bouncer to short, and Machado appeared to be running into an out at third base. But Mariners shortstop Chris Taylor fumbled the ball on the exchange from his glove.
After two strikeouts by Elias (8-9), J.J. Hardy hit a single up the middle that a sliding Cano couldn't quite snag. Machado scored the tiebreaker from third.
"I think the way it's been going for us," Hardy said. "I mean, it seems like there's a new guy every night that's coming through. Obviously, I haven't gotten a lot of hits lately so that felt good to get that one in a key moment."
Hardy was Elias' last batter -- he was charged with two runs (one earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out seven.
Chen was a bit better. He didn't walk a batter until the last one he faced with one out in the eighth. It was the fourth straight game in which Chen has given up one walk or none.
With Austin Jackson on first, Showalter pulled Chen, who walked off the mound to a rousing ovation from the announced 39,487. The crowd sustained its cheers as Miller entered the game.
Making his Orioles debut after being traded by the Boston Red Sox at the non-waiver trade deadline Thursday, Miller induced a force out that nearly was an inning-ending double play. But Dustin Ackley beat out the throw to first. Ackley then stole second and raced to third when Joseph's throw skipped into the outfield.
Miller walked Cano, but Morales grounded out to end the threat.
In the ninth, Showalter brought in his third consecutive lefty, closer Zach Britton, who earned his 22nd save and seventh straight with a perfect ninth.
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