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Bullpen nearly blows great Chen outing in Orioles much-needed win (update)

2012/07/04 17:42:53

Taipei, July 4 (CNA) Baltimore Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen pitched brilliantly against the Seattle Mariners Wednesday but ended up with a no-decision in his club's 5-4 victory after the bullpen failed to hold a late lead.

The Kaohsiung native retired the first 19 Mariners he faced, striking out nine of them, but his hopes for a perfect game ended when Casper Wells hit a solo home run to left on a full count with one out in the seventh.

Still, the Orioles had a 4-1 lead, and when Chen was pulled after yielding a one-out double in the eighth, he appeared on his way to his eighth victory of the season.

"This was probably the first time since I came to the States that I really felt good about my slider," Chen said through an interpreter.

"Once I established my first-pitch strike, I could easily execute my offspeed pitches," he was quoted as saying on the Orioles' website.

"He surprised me," Mariners starter Felix Hernandez said of his first encounter with Chen. "He was in command the whole game. He was sneaky a little bit with his fastball and mixed in his breaking ball."

"He was unbelievable."

Chen's hopes for the win were undone by an ineffective Pedro Strop, who quickly surrendered a wild pitch and three straight hits that put the Mariners within a run.

After the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki grounded out, Strop hit Wells and then walked Kyle Seager to force in the tying run. He was relieved by Darren O'Day, who retired Jesus Montero to snuff out the rally.

The tie meant that Chen would get a no-decision and remain 7-4, but the Orioles rebounded in the ninth, taking a one-run lead on Robert Andino's two-out solo home run.

Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth for his team, which had lost six of its previous seven games.

Chen threw 97 pitches, 73 for strikes in 7 1/3 innings, and his ERA improved to 3.64.

(By Lee Yu-cheng and Jamie Wang)