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Wei-Yin Chen dazzles in Orioles' 2-1 win over the Mariners

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The Orioles blew a few opportunities, but scored just enough to back Wei-Yin Chen's impressive pitching.

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

If you were hoping tonight would be the night that the Orioles' offense would break out of its slump, you might have been disappointed to see them fail again tonight. But thankfully Wei-Yin Chen was there to cheer you up with another outstanding starting performance.

Through the first three innings of the game, the only baserunner that that Mariners had reached on an infield single by Robinson Cano. With two outs in the first inning and the infield shifted to the right side, Cano hit a ball on the ground towards third base. Machado managed to get to the ball and even make a throw, but he just couldn't get Cano at first. Chen wasn't fazed as he went on to retire the next eight batters before he let Cano reach again, this time on a solid single to left field.

When the Orioles got a run in the third inning of tonight's game, I thought maybe they would go on to score a bunch more and make us all feel better. Delmon Young, who was playing left field tonight (more on that in a minute), led off the third inning with a double, and after Caleb Joseph and Jonathan Schoop struck out, it looked like he might be stranded. But Nick Markakis hit a ball about halfway between third base and home plate that died on the grass (and maybe had a little help from catcher Mike Zunino, who picked it up before it stopped rolling). Young moved to third base on the infield single, then came in to score on a line drive back up the middle by Machado. Nice! That put two runners on for Adam Jones, but the birthday boy struck out on one of the ugliest swings I've seen in awhile.

Unfortunately the Orioles didn't get to enjoy their lead for too long. Chen struck out Dustin Ackley for the first out in the fourth, but then the previously mentioned Cano single put a runner on base. Kendrys Morales hit a ball down the left field line that Delmon Young did not play well. Morales would have had a double no matter what, but the Mariners third base coach had begun motioning for Cano to stop at third. But when he saw Young moseying after the ball in left field, he changed his mind and waved him in. Young threw in to the relay man and Hardy's relay throw home was almost perfect. If Joseph had held on to the ball it could have been interesting, but it trickled away from him. I think he would have been safe either way, but it would have been very close.

That tied the game, which sucked, but Chen got right back to being awesome, which did not. He retired Kyle Seager and Chris Denorfia, then cruised through the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings with little trouble. Ackley did reach third base in the sixth on a single and two ground outs, but Chen struck out Seager to strand him.

So while Chen was mowing down the Mariners, the Orioles were laying an egg against Mariners' starter Roenis Elias. They found themselves with two on and just one out in the fourth inning after Nelson Cruz doubled and J.J. Hardy walked, but Young hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Curses! Wasting a Cruz hit AND a Hardy walk is just a shame. (Although to be fair, Cruz's double was mostly a misplay by center fielder Austin Jackson, but since Cruz had been 0 for his last 21, we'll cut him some slack)

In the sixth inning the Orioles got another leadoff double, this one from Machado. They got lucky on the next play, when M's shortstop Chris Taylor fielded a ground ball from Adam Jones. Manny ran to third on contact and Taylor thought about going to third base to try and tag him. Taylor hesitated, dropped the ball, and couldn't get anyone out. Manny looked far enough from third that a good quick throw probably would have gotten him, but at the very least Taylor should have had the play at first.

Just like in the third inning, the Orioles had a runner in scoring position with no outs, only to see the next two batters strike out. This time it was Cruz and Chris Davis. Sigh. At least Joseph and Schoop have the excuse that  they are Joseph and Schoop. Cruz and Davis are, in theory, the heart of the order. They both struck out looking, and while Cruz should have been ashamed of himself, Davis at least had a right to some beef with the umpire.

Thankfully for those two jokers, Hardy wasn't in the mood to play any more extra innings. He hit a sharp single back up the middle that went past a diving Cano, resulting in a 2-1 Orioles lead on an unearned run. Roenis was pulled from the game with two on and two out, and Young grounded out on the first pitch from relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen to end the inning.

Finally given another lead, Chen didn't let this one get away. He pitched a very quick seventh inning and started the eighth with 94 pitches. That's the danger zone for Chen, but Buck Showalter had new Oriole Andrew Miller warming in the pen. Chen got Chris Taylor to pop up for the first out, but then walked Austin Jackson. Buck pulled him then, at exactly the right time in my opinion. The crowd of 39,487 gave Chen a huge ovation as he walked off the field, and he deserved it. Well done, Wei-Yin Chen!

Just as the roar for Chen died down, it picked up again as the Ryan Wagner introduced Andrew Miller to the crowd. It was a nice warm welcome to the newest Oriole, and he almost got his team out of the inning immediately with a ground ball to second base. Schoop went to Hardy at second for the first out, but the relay throw wasn't in time. The ball just wasn't hit hard enough and Ackley beat it out. Ackley then took off for second base with Cano at the plate, and Joseph made a rare defensive miscue, throwing the ball past second base and into center field. Ackley raced to third base.

Once Ackley got off of first base, it looked like Miller didn't mind pitching around Cano. Can you blame him? Cano went to first with a walk, and Miller got a ground ball to shortstop from Morales to end the inning. Welcome to Birdland, Andrew Miller!

An insurance run would have been nice at that point, don't you think? Sure, Zach Britton is a shut down closer, but things happen. Machado singled to start the bottom of the eighth and things looked promising. It was Manny's third hit of the night! But then after Jones flew out, Manny ran on a ball hit in air by Cruz. It was hit kinda hard, and kind of towards the gap, but some on, Manny. Ackley made the catch in left and easily doubled Manny off of first to end the inning. Just for that he's not going on the MBP ballot! That'll teach him.

Thankfully they didn't need the insurance run, because Britton made it look easy in the ninth. A ground ball to shortstop, a ground ball to second base, and a fly ball to left and the game was over. O's win! Good night.