Last night, we almost saw history as Wei-Yin Chen looked as if he was on his way to a perfect game. He became the ninth pitcher in the MLB this season to have a perfect game through five innings. Then, Casper “The Friendly Ghost” Wells stepped in the box and crushed all our hopes for this milestone.
As soon as the count hit 3-2, I thought, “This is either going to be a ball or a home run because he’s going to try and throw the ball right down groove city and get away with it.” Like most young pitchers, he did not want the walk and the second option happened. While my heart sank in distress for Chen, he still dished out a solid performance going 7 1-3 innings, was perfect through 6 1-3, giving up two hits, two earned runs, and a career-high nine strikeouts. However, he only had 97 pitches and on the forefront, it looked as if Buck may have pulled him out a little too soon.
Pedro Strop came into the game next, and did he put Os fans on a roller coaster ride. The first batter he faced, Justin Smoak, drove in a run with his single, and pinch-hitter, John Jaso, drove in Smoak after Dustin Ackley singled earlier. Strop’s night was less than stellar with a wild pitch, getting just one batter out, surrendering three hits, a HBP, another walk and was charged with two earned runs. Luckily, Darren O’Day came in to get the last out and get the birds out of the jam.
An unexpected hero emerged with a big bat in the ninth inning as Robert Andino stepped into the batter’s box looking to make a statement. After two curve balls from LHP Charlie Furbish that landed at the backstop and in the left-handed batters box, Andino sat on a 2-2 fastball as Furbish had to throw a strike. Andino dug in and launched the ball over the left field fence that immediately put Jim Johnson to work in the pen.
Johnson made short work of the Mariners in the ninth to save his 24th game. O’Day improved his record to 5-0, while Furbish suffered his second loss (4-2).
This win was gratifying for the Orioles as they were riding a three-game losing streak and just have not played up to par the past two weeks. Seeing this team be resilient after such a disheartening eighth inning was impressive. Although Chen picking up the win would’ve been nice, he’s continuing his surprising rookie campaign as his quality starts keep piling up (now eight).