BALTIMORE – Nine times out of ten, the Orioles will win a game when their starter allows two runs in seven innings. The 10th time was Friday night.
Wei-Yin Chen gave up a run in each of the first two innings, but the Orioles did almost nothing with Jered Weaver.
Chen threw his fourth straight quality start, but has gotten just one win out of his fine work. He was the hard luck loser as the Orioles lost to the Los Angeles Angels 3-1 before 35,470 at Oriole Park.
“What was hard luck was drawing Weaver on top of his game,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Weaver (2-4), who pitched a complete game six-hit shutout against Houston a week ago, followed that gem up by allowing just three hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Only J.J. Hardy had any success. Coming into the game 3-for-23 against Weaver, Hardy singled in the second and hit his second home run of the year in the eighth. He also reached base on Weaver’s two-base throwing error in the fifth.
Adam Jones’ bunt single leading off the seventh was the only other hit. Jimmy Paredes walked in the first.
“He's a tough guy to face, man. He knows how to pitch. He's been doing it for a long time. He's a guy that if you go up there and try to get too aggressive, he uses it against you. But at the same time, if you go up there and try to take pitches, you can be behind him,” Chris Davis said.
Davis struck out, was robbed of a hit by right fielder Kole Calhoun in the fourth and hit into a double play immediately after Jones bunted his way on.
Chen (1-2) gave two runs on five hits in seven innings.
"Overall I felt pretty good. Well, there was those bumpy innings in the first two, but luckily I made adjustments,” Chen said through his translator.
After Aybar scored, no runner made it to third off Chen, who has allowed seven runs in his past 28 innings.
“He gave us a quality start. He just pitched really well. He pitched [to] both sides of the plate, gave us a chance to win. We just couldn’t scratch out anything against their guy,” Caleb Joseph said. “It’s just one of those games where we pitched really well and couldn’t scratch anything out to win.”
Albert Pujols hit his sixth home run of the year to left field with two outs in the first.
Chen gave up a double to Erick Aybar leading off the second. Aybar moved to third on an infield out and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Carlos Perez.
Chen was relieved by Tommy Hunter after allowing a leadoff walk to Calhoun in the eighth. Mike Trout hit into a double play, and Pujols grounded to short.
Joe Smith relieved Weaver with one out in the eighth, and struck out Joseph. Manny Machado singled to center, and Alejandro De Aza flied to right.
Hunter allowed a run in the ninth on singles to David Freese and Aybar. Pinch runner Taylor Featherston scored on a sacrifice fly by Johnny Giavotella, and Los Angeles (18-17) led 3-1.
Huston Street allowed a one-out single to Jones in the ninth, retired Davis on a long fly to center, and struck out Travis Snider to end the game. It was his 12th save of the season.
Joseph knew it was an opportunity that eluded the Orioles.
“It does stink when you pitch so well, and you feel like you have a good chance to win that ballgame, and we just can’t get anything on offense,” Joseph said. “We can manufacture a run here and there. We can get guys on base and really pressure the defense. We just couldn’t do it today.”
In a year where Major League Baseball has emphasized pace of game, the Orioles have certainly quickened their games. Friday’s game was played in two hours, twenty-three minutes, the fourth time they’ve played a game in under 2 ½ hours. They’ve lost three of them.
Showalter said that he found no enjoyment with a well-pitched game that didn’t end with an Orioles victory.
“The people who think it's a good game are just trying to get out of here before three hours. We're trying to win here. Anything that ends with an L on our side isn't enjoyable,” he said.
NOTES: Bud Norris will not pitch on Saturday because of bronchitis. Ubaldo Jimenez (3-2, 2.41) will face Matt Shoemaker (2-3, 3.61). Showalter left open the possibility that Norris could pitch Sunday if he felt better on Saturday. Otherwise, Chris Tillman will go. … Machado has a 20-game on-base streak. … Paredes’ 12-game hitting streak ended.
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