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Chen is now Orioles' ace

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Chen is now Orioles' ace

The Orioles have somehow managed to stay in the American League wild card race, and Wei-Yin Chen is a huge reason why.Five of Chens 10 wins followed an Orioles loss, and with Jason Hammel out after knee surgery, hes counted on by the desperate Orioles.After last Sundays win, manager Buck Showalter dismissed the theory that Chen is his ace.I dont look at it that way. I know you could make a case statistically, but our No. 1 starter is the guy whos pitching that day, Showalter said.Hes handled himself well and hes been consistent for the most part. Hes a real competitive guy. Every once in a while, itll slip out publicly. He holds himself to high standards.Chen is 10-6 with a 3.46 ERA. Among AL rookies, hes second in wins to Japanese import Yu Darvish, who has 11.When Dan Duquette signed Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada last winter, most knew little about them. Wada came to Baltimore for an introductory press conference. Chens was held in a hotel in Tapei.Chen is Taiwanese, and pitched the past four seasons in Japan, but there was not much buzz about him. A scout or two who had heard about him opined that the Orioles had made a good signing.In spring training, there were many more media members around Wada. The Japanese media is larger than its Taiwanese counterpart, and though Chen pitched in Japan, his following was much smaller than Wadas.Wada underwent Tommy John surgery in May and this weekend joined the Orioles at Tampa Bay so he could watch his first major league game in person. Hes currently rehabbing at the Orioles spring training facility in Sarasota, Fla.Chen was placed fifth in the rotation this spring, and hes the only one of the five original starters to stay with the team the entire season. Jake Arrieta, who started Opening Day and Brian Matusz, the fourth starter, are both at Norfolk. Hammel is on the disabled list and Tommy Hunter is back with the Orioles, but only after some time with the Tides.Early in the season, the Orioles babied Chen. He was used to a Japanese rotation where pitchers have five days between starts instead of four. The team would juggle its rotation to give him extra rest.Now, they really need him.Chen may have as many as 11 starts remaining in his first big league season, and if he wins four more, hell have more wins than any Orioles starter since Erik Bedard in 2006. Bedard was the last 15-game winner.He could become the second rookie pitcher in as many seasons to lead the team in wins. Last season, Zach Britton led with 11.I see the work he does between starts to be there for the team, Showalter said. The work has paid off. Chen isnt wilting during the latter part of the season. Hes getting stronger.Chen still uses translator Tim Lin for interviews. For in-depth discussions, Showalter relies on Lin to make sure Chen gets the meaning.A few weeks ago, Chen committed a balk that was not discernible. Showalter used Lin to make sure Chen knew what happened, even if the manager himself found it hard to justify.He openly worried about Chens feelings, but after the left-hander just expressed puzzlement about the infraction, he moved on. His English has improved to the point where he can make some conversation, and perhaps next season he can do interviews without Lin.He also uses Lin to help him find Chinese restaurants. Chen recently took Britton to an establishment in Cleveland. Chen is popular among his teammates. Adam Jones frequently lauds him in his Twitter ccount, calling him: Chen-sational. Hes easily joked with them since the early days of spring training.And he likes to win. He doesnt just like to win the day that he pitches. He likes the Orioles to win, Showalter said.And hes been fun to watch.NOTES:-Arrieta was thrown out of Thursdays game in Norfolk for arguing balls and strikes as he was leaving the game.

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Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

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USA TODAY Sports

Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

BALTIMORE — The Cleveland Indians figured it would only be a matter of time before their struggling offense provided some support to a solid starting rotation.

Jose Ramirez and the rest of the batting order finally got into a groove Sunday, and the result was a 14-hit attack that carried Corey Kluber and the Indians past the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.

Cleveland came into the game with a .211 team batting average and ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs scored. On this day, however, Ramirez hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run drive in the ninth, and Yan Gomes had three hits to lift his batting average 41 points to .261.

"When things are not going my way, I stay positive and work it," Ramirez said through a translator. "I know eventually I'm going to break out."

Ramirez has three homers in two games and a team-leading seven for the season.

"I try not to do too much," Ramirez said. "I just look for a good pitch and then I hit it somewhere."

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Kluber yielded two home runs to Manny Machado, but the Indians twice came from behind before tacking on three runs in the ninth.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," manager Terry Francona said. "When they came back, we came back at them. We kept pushing and took some better swings."

Kluber (3-1) allowed three runs and six hits over seven-plus innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner walked none and struck out four to move past Charles Nagy into sixth place on the Indians' career strikeout list with 1,238.

"It doesn't matter if you feel you pitched well or didn't pitch well. The goal is to end the game with more runs they do," Kluber said. "That's what we did."

Machado's third multihomer game of the season wasn't enough to prevent the Orioles from losing for the ninth time in 10 games, a skid that has dropped them 10 games under .500 (6-16).

"You know what? There's no excuse for what's happening," Machado said. "We need to play better overall. Nobody is in here pointing fingers. We are in here together, and we are going to ride or die together."

Andrew Cashner (1-3) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out seven. He's 0-3 with 7.41 ERA in three lifetime appearances against the Indians.

After Machado connected in the first inning, Cleveland went up 2-1 in the fourth when Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso hit successive doubles following a leadoff homer by Ramirez.

Baltimore regained the lead in the bottom half. After Machado homered, Adam Jones doubled and scored on a single by Chris Davis.

A pair of walks and run-scoring singles by Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley put the Indians up 4-3 in the fifth.

"Once you get the lead, you can't give it up," Cashner lamented.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: CF Bradley Zimmer was a late scratch with a mild right ankle sprain. He was replaced by Rajai Davis.

Orioles: LF Trey Mancini missed a second straight game with a swollen right knee. ... DH Mark Trumbo (strained right quad) will begin a three-game stint with Double-A Bowie on Monday, then play three games with Triple-A Norfolk later in the week, manager Buck Showalter said. He won't be rushed to return. "It's important we get it right the first time," Showalter said.

WELL RESTED

Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin threw a side session Saturday and is expected to start Tuesday against the Cubs. Francona opted to skip Tomlin's last scheduled start Wednesday to reset the rotation after Cleveland had two straight games postponed last weekend.

UP NEXT

Indians: Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.48 ERA) starts the series finale Monday night. The right-hander is 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA over his past 11 starts since Aug. 27.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57) makes his fifth start of the season after allowing 27 hits -- including six homers -- over 21 innings.

RELATED: WHERE DO THE O'S FALL IN MLB STANDINGS?

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

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USA Today Sports Images

Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

BALTIMORE -- Mike Clevenger pitched a two-hitter in his first career complete game, and the Cleveland Indians hit three solo homers off Chris Tillman in a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Jose Ramirez went 3 for 4 with his team-leading fifth home run. Yan Gomes and Yonder Alonso also went deep for Cleveland, which came into the game ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs and last in batting average.

Clevenger (2-0) hardly needed the offensive support. Pitching on seven days' rest, the right-hander struck out three, walked two and allowed only one runner past first base.

The only two hits he allowed were singles by Manny Machado in the fourth inning and Chance Sisco in the fifth.

It was Clevenger's 35th career start. His previous longest outing was 7 1/3 innings, earlier this month against Kansas City.

While Clevenger is unbeaten in 11 starts since July 31, Tillman has experienced an opposite fate. This was his 22nd straight start without a victory, dating back to his first outing last season.

Tillman (0-4) gave up four runs, eight hits and a walk in six innings. The three home runs were one more than he yielded in his first three starts this season.

Michael Brantley hit a run-scoring groundout in the first inning and Gomes connected in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, their lone threat against Clevenger, who responded by retiring Tim Beckham on a short fly to left and getting Anthony Santander to ground out.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a drive to left, and Alonso hit a two-out shot that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard.