Chen, Ray Blank Blue Jays To End O's Five-Game Skid
Thursday, September 1, 2005
TORONTO., Aug. 31 -- Bruce Chen had to be satisfied with helping the Baltimore Orioles end a five-game losing streak after missing a chance for his first career shutout.
Chen allowed two hits in eight innings and Chris Ray pitched a perfect ninth Wednesday night in the Orioles' 7-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. "I did want to go out there for the ninth inning," Chen said. "I had good stuff and I felt like I could have done it, but I'm just glad I helped this team win. We really needed a win."
Chen (11-8) allowed Aaron Hill's infield single to first in the second inning and Corey Koskie's single to center in the eighth. First baseman Chris Gomez and Chen appeared to be unsure who would field Hill's grounder, allowing the batter to reach base. Chen then retired 18 straight batters until Koskie's hit, finishing with seven strikeouts and one walk.
"This is one of the best games I've ever felt and pitched," Chen said. "I just felt like I was on."
Interim manager Sam Perlozzo wanted Chen to leave the game feeling good about himself. He didn't want to have to relieve him if he allowed a few runners on. "He was outstanding," Perlozzo said. "It was a shot in the arm for the club. We dearly needed it."
Miguel Tejada, Jay Gibbons and Eric Byrnes homered for the Orioles, who had lost 10 of their previous 11 games and held a brief team meeting before the game.
Perlozzo said Tejada did more than just hit a three-run homer. "He really lifted the spirits of the ballclub even before the game. He said he was back and he backed it up," Perlozzo said. "Just before the game he said, 'You're going to hear a lot from me tonight. I'm back.' He just had a lot of energy. It seemed like the old Miggy and I think the club responded."
Tejada said he talked less lately because of the losing. "I've been quiet the last couple of days so I could give the guys a rest," Tejada said. "I've been real loud throughout the season but the club has been losing. Today I said I was back."
Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro did not play, a day after he used earplugs after he was loudly booed during his first at-bat. Perlozzo said Palmeiro, bothered by knee and foot injuries, won't return to the lineup until he's healthy. Palmeiro is 2 for 26 (.077) since a 10-day suspension for testing positive for steroids.