Five Orioles pitchers combine for shutout of Twins
The good news is Wei-Yin Chen was able to show he can become a steady member of the Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation.
The bad news is he might not get another chance in the near future, leaving Sunday's 6-0 win over Minnesota after six innings with what's being called a right oblique strain.
Chen (3-3) threw an economical 73 pitches in six innings, scattered five singles and struck out three while walking none. The Twins never threatened against the lefthander after scoring 14 runs against Baltimore pitching in the first two games of the series.
"In the fifth inning, the last batter, I had a weird feeling," said Chen through an interpreter. "We'll have to see, I hope it's just a cramp."
Four relievers finished off Minnesota with hardly a scratch to give Baltimore its second shutout of the season. Chen was also the winning pitcher of the other shutout, a 3-0 whitewashing of the Athletics in Oakland on April 26.
The Twins were shut out for the second time this season, both times at home. Texas beat them 5-0 on April 28 at Target Field.
The Orioles never allowed Twins starter Scott Diamond to get on track, jumping on the lefthander for four runs in the first three innings. Chris Davis hit a towering two-run homer off the batters' eye in straight away center field to start off the scoring, while Adam Jones and Steve Pearce both hit solo shots against Diamond (3-3).
The home run was the 11th for Davis, tying him with Cleveland's Mark Reynolds for the AL lead. Jones' home run was a line shot to left that hit the railing in front of the bleachers and ricocheted straight up into the upper deck. The Twins' publicity department measured the drive at 350 feet when it left the park, and 380 feet when it finally came to rest.
"I think Jonesey's was cooler," said Davis, when asked to compare his home run to his teammate. "But, I'll let you decide which was more impressive."
Diamond threw exactly 100 pitches before being relieved with two outs in the sixth inning. He allowed nine hits and six runs, walking three and striking out none.
"It was frustrating, I definitely left a lot of balls up in the zone and paid for it," said Diamond. "I tried to make adjustments but continued to struggle."
The Twins could manage only singles on a sunny but cool Sunday afternoon until Joe Mauer's one-out double in the sixth. But that was as far as Mauer, or any other Twins baserunner, was able to get.
"Not much happened on our side today," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, as Minnesota fell back to the .500 mark at 17-17. A year ago, the Twins were 10-24 after 34 games.
NOTES: Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon (hamstring) and outfielder Aaron Hicks (elbow) were out of Sunday's starting lineup, but neither injury is considered serious. ... Twins reliever Jared Burton was unavailable on Sunday after pitching three straight days for the first time this season. ... Orioles first baseman Chris Davis reached 11 homers the earliest he's ever had in a season. ... Baltimore backup catcher Chris Snyder picked up his first American League hit with an RBI single in the second inning. ... Adam Jones has hit in 13 straight games against the Twins, who won't play the Orioles again this season. ... The Twins and Orioles split the season series 3-3, with the visitors winning four of the games. ... Scott Diamond had allowed just two home runs all season, and none in his previous two starts, before giving up two to the Orioles on Sunday. ... Joe Mauer's fourth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest active streak in the majors. He's the only player to have two hitting streaks of at least ten games this season. ... The Orioles called up lefthanded pitcher Mike Belfiore from AAA Norfolk, who's waiting for his major league debut. He'll be the 20th pitcher the Orioles have used this season. ... Sunday's attendance of 34,320 gave the Twins more than 30,000 in three straight games, the first time they've done that this season. ... Baltimore left fielders lost balls in the sun twice during the game, Steve Pearce in the seventh on a line drive by Chris Parmelee and Nate McClouth in the eighth on Josh Willingham's high fly.
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