BALTIMORE – Buck Showalter slipped in an important message to Wei-Yin Chen in his postgame news conference. Fifteen days ago, Chen was optioned to Frederick to avoid pitching in Toronto and to give him more rest.
It was a move that Chen objected to on Twitter, and in his second start back, the Taiwanese left-hander breezed through eight innings in 87 pitches.
Chen could have gone for his first major league complete game, but Showalter has a terrific closer in Zach Britton, and he wants to keep his starter fresh.
“Hopefully, he doesn’t have any more missed starts the rest of the year,” Showalter said.
Chen got his third straight win as the Orioles beat the Texas Rangers 4-2 before 23,019 at Oriole Park on Wednesday night.
He was relieved to hear that his manager has confidence in him.
“Of course I’m happy to hear that. Because we talked about it and I’m happy that Buck trusts me. Also I just wanted to do my job well and keep pitching well until the end of the season,” Chen said through a translator.
Chen allowed two runs on four hits, walking one and striking out two. Both of the Texas runs came on home runs. Shin-Soo Choo hit his third in as many games here, his 11th in the third, and Ryan Rua had his second in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.
That gave the Rangers (40-39) 10 home runs in three games.
“These guys can hit. That’s what I’m thinking,” J.J. Hardy said. “These guys, they’re driving the ball pretty good. Chen shut them down after that. It was big for him to do that. These guys, that’s a good lineup over there.”
Hardy’s two-run home run in the seventh off Nick Martinez (5-5) gave the Orioles the 4-2 lead.
Chen (4-4) has beaten Texas five straight times with a 1.80 ERA.
“I just pitched there and pitch, that’s all,” Chen said through the interpreter.
Then he added in English: “Just pitch. Just pitch. Just pitch.”
Britton struck out the side in the ninth for his 23rd save. It was his 19th consecutive successful conversion.
Jimmy Paredes slammed his 10th to lead off the fourth.
The Orioles (42-36) tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when Ryan Flaherty led off with a double. Manny Machado grounded through the legs of third baseman Adrian Beltre for an error. Flaherty scored on Paredes’ fielder’s choice.
Machado made two outstanding plays in the seventh inning, including one where on a shift, he was essentially playing shortstop. He dove and fired to first in time to get Choo.
“He's really playing a lot of shortstop these last two years with the shifts. He's playing about as much shortstop as J.J.,” Showalter joked.
About an hour before gametime, the Orioles announced they had designated Delmon Young for assignment.
The Orioles had seven outfielders, and one had to go.
“It's very tough. There's not a right decision there. Nobody is trying to present it as such. We've got good quality people and you reach a point where you can't keep them all. Unfortunately, we're probably not done,” Showalter said.
“But we exhausted every possibility and as we go forward there's not a good decision to make. Anybody we do is going to end up in the big leagues with somebody else. It's where we've graduated to, I hope. Baseball has a way to make paths cross again. He's done some good things for us and been a good teammate and a contributor.”
Young’s biggest hit was a three-run double in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
“It’s a reminder of how clutch he was all last year. The guy just got hit after hit after hit for us last year,” Caleb Joseph said. “It’s a rude awakening that this is a business at the end of the day. He’ll be missed. He’s a great guy. A great, great player, great teammate off the field.”
Showalter wanted a seven-man bullpen and he had Tyler Wilson available for the game, but he wasn’t needed. Wilson is likely to head back to Norfolk since the Orioles need to activate Kevin Gausman to start on Thursday night.
Bud Norris may be available in an emergency in back of Gausman.
NOTES: Chris Davis extended his hitting streak to 11 games, equaling a career high. … Paredes has 21 multi-hit games. … Machado’s 12-game hitting streak ended. …Yovani Gallardo (7-6, 2.72) faces Kevin Gausman (1-0, 4.24 on Thursday night.