Chen hopes to stretch unbeaten streak in opener with Rays
(SportsNetwork.com) - Red-hot left-hander Wei-Yin Chen can push his unbeaten streak to eight starts on Monday night when the Baltimore Orioles visit Tropicana Field to begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Chen was a seven-game winner for the Orioles last season, but matched that win total in his most recent start of 2014 -- when he allowed four hits and struck out seven in a 6-0 defeat of the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.
He's 4-0 in seven starts since his last loss to Minnesota on May 3.
"There is not much difference between this outing (against Boston) and the previous outings but I think if I had to say one, it's my command," Chen said. "My command on my breaking balls. I was able to locate them in the strike zone or out of the strike zone. That's the main difference."
He defeated the Rays on April 14 with 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball and is 3-1 against them in his last seven starts with a stingy 2.03 earned run average.
Baltimore has won five straight over Tampa Bay, its longest streak since 2007.
The Orioles enter after having split four games with Toronto.
"It was a good series," pitcher Chris Tillman said. "We would have liked to have liked to come out on top, but we split against the team that's leading the league. Just come back better next time."
The Rays have won three of four games since a dreadful 1-14 stretch, but still enter the series with the worst record in the major leagues at 27-43.
Jake Odorizzi will try again for his first win since mid-May.
He's lost four decisions in his last five starts, while getting just six runs of support. Odorizzi was beaten, 1-0, by St. Louis on Tuesday after allowing three hits and a run in 7 1/3 innings.
Odorizzi faced Baltimore on April 16 and dropped a 3-0 verdict.
On Sunday in Baltimore, Dioner Navarro finished with three hits and drove in a pair of runs, leading Toronto to a 5-2 decision over the Orioles in the finale of a four-game series.
Adam Jones homered and Nelson Cruz added a run-scoring hit for the Orioles. Chris Tillman (5-4) lasted seven frames, but was charged for three runs on eight hits in defeat.
In Houston, Jerry Sands hit the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning, helping Tampa Bay take a 4-3 victory over the Astros in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Yunel Escobar finished with two hits and two RBI for the Rays. Desmond Jennings also drove in a run.
David Price (5-6) threw 116 pitches through eight innings for the win, allowing five hits and three runs while fanning 10 without walking a batter. Jake McGee tossed a scoreless ninth to pick up his first save.
06/16 11:03:41 ET