The Orioles defeated the Twins today to win another series, but with Wei-Yin Chen exiting early with an injury, the win could come at a very steep price. We're still waiting to see what the official diagnosis is, as MASN reported a right oblique strain, but speculation after the game was a cramp. So while we wait for more on Chen, let's talk about the whole game.
Scott Diamond wasn't nearly as scary as reported, and the Orioles got all the runs they'd need in the first inning. With Nick Markakis on base and two outs, Chris Davis hit his 11th home run of the season. It was Davis' only hit on the day, but it was a big one.
After Chen faced just three batters in the top of the first (thanks to a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play), the bottom of the O's lineup go to work. J.J. Hardy singled with one out, then came in to score on a single from backup catcher Chris Snyder. Markakis followed that with a double, but Snyder (and third base coach Bobby Dickerson) decided to test the Twins and was thrown out at home to end the inning.
I wouldn't call it a base running error for Snyder to get thrown out, but it still wasn't fun to see. But the Twins returned the favor quickly. Justin Morneau singled into right field to lead off the second inning and tried to stretch the hit into a double. Markakis said no and threw him out at second for the first out. Chen retired the next two.
The Orioles increased their lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning on Adam Jones' fifth home run of the year. Only once this year had Diamond allowed four runs, and he wasn't finished giving up runs today (spoiler!)
Chen gave up one single each in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, but never allowed more than one base runner per inning. The Twins just weren't able to string together any rallies. Unfortunately after the fifth inning, Chen left the mound holding his right side and had to be taken out of the game having thrown just 73 pitches. It remains to be seen how much time, if any, Chen will miss.
Meanwhile, after giving Diamond a break in the fourth inning, the O's were right back at it in the fifth. With one out, Markakis walked to get on base for the third time of the game, then Manny Machado doubled to put runners at second at third. The Twins elected to intentionally walk Adam Jones to reach....Chris Davis?? I scoffed at such a thing, with no offense to Jones. But the plan (sort of) worked. Davis chopped a ground ball to the right side, but it wasn't hit in a way that allowed a double play. The Twins got the out at first but Markakis came in to score. Wieters grounded out to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, as the announcers were speculating on Chen's injury, Steve Pearce hit a ball to left center field that sailed out for his second home run of the year. I didn't like seeing Pearce in left field instead of Nate McLouth, but again it was proven why I'm not the right person to run this baseball team.
From then out it was a battle of the bullpens, although I don't know how much of a battle it really is when one team is up by six runs. Tommy Hunter replaced Chen in the sixth inning and worked around a double to pitch a scoreless inning.
Despite the big lead, Buck Showalter turned to Darren O'Day in the seventh inning. Showalter said before the game that O'Day needed the work. He gave up a double in his first inning of work, but it was only due to defensive replacement Nate McLouth losing a ball in the sun. Other than that his stuff looked filthy. He wasn't so good in the eighth, when he gave up a walk and a hit with one out, and was replaced by Brian Matusz, who got two quick outs.
Pedro Strop came in for the ninth inning and looked like the Strop of old, getting three quick outs for the win.