Chen, O's hit hard by Tribe

Chen, O's hit hard by Tribe

BALTIMORE -- Bruce Chen may have to consult his doctor, or at least his pitching coach. The southpaw had his second straight case of homeritis on Tuesday night, an outing where he struggled to keep the ball in the park and his team in the game.

The Cleveland Indians battered Chen all over Camden Yards, reaching Baltimore's starter for two homers and eight early runs in a 15-1 rout. Chen had given up four homers in his previous start -- all solo shots -- but was able to pitch into the eighth inning. This time, he was lifted in the fifth, but Cleveland (9-5) had already done enough damage.

"He was just missing with his pitches. And then when he didn't just miss, he'd lay it out in the middle of the plate for them to hit," said Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo. "He just couldn't seem to get his control working. He was just off the plate on everything, it seemed like. When he needed to come in, he came in too good and they hit it."

It wasn't just the home runs. Chen walked three batters and gave up two doubles in his brief outing. Left fielder Jason Michaels got things started with a two-run single in the third inning, and the Indians took command with five more runs in the fourth.

"You have to keep it close. When I gave up five, that pretty much sealed the deal for them," said Chen. "I'm trying to do my best. I'm trying to keep the team in the ballgame, but it's unfortunate that I let up five runs in that inning."

"You certainly don't want to continue that trend as we go along," said Perlozzo. "I don't think he's been as crisp as he was in the spring. He knows how to pitch -- he gets away with a little bit more. When you're his style of pitcher, if you're not getting your pitches where you want to get them, you're susceptible to the long ball.

"It's just a matter of him getting settled back into his good groove, getting all his pitches working."

The five-run rally boiled down to two big swings. Victor Martinez got the first one, launching a two-run homer over the left-field fence to give the Indians a four-run lead. That blast extended the catcher's hitting streak to 13 games. Leadoff hitter Grady Sizemore crunched Chen (0-2) later in the inning, connecting on a three-run homer over the 364-foot sign in left field.

"Chen's tough. He's not going to give into you," said Cleveland manager Eric Wedge. "He's going to make you work, and our guys did a great job."

Chen said the home runs are coming on a variety of pitches -- everything but his breaking ball, to be specific. He said he just has to keep the ball down and concentrate on making better pitches in his next outing.

"They do have a good lineup. They do have a good team," said Chen. "But I also feel like I should've pitched better, no matter what the lineup is. Even though they have a good lineup, I also feel like I have good stuff."

The Indians came back for one run in the fifth inning and five more in the sixth, taking advantage of some sloppy glovework. Infielders Miguel Tejada and Brian Roberts both made errors that allowed runs to score, and Jay Gibbons and Nick Markakis let a catchable ball fall between them. The result was three earned runs and two unearned ones for Baltimore reliever Chris Britton.

"It's not a good thing and I'm not going to say it's understandable either. But those kinds of things happen whenever you're getting beat up a little bit," said Perlozzo. "The pitchers are throwing a lot of pitches and you get on your heels. You're out there for a long time, so you're not as sharp as you normally are. It's still not an excuse. It shouldn't happen."

Cleveland's Jason Johnson made all that run support stand up, allowing just one run in seven innings. Roberts had four of those -- three singles and a double -- and two stolen bases. The Orioles (8-7) didn't score until the eighth inning, when Roberts got his fourth hit, a run-scoring double. Johnson (2-0) left with a 14-run cushion.

"He had his good sinker working tonight. He threw strikes. Obviously, he got a lead, and it seemed like he settled down and kept pitching," said Kevin Millar, Baltimore's first baseman. "For some reason, you go through a couple of these a year -- a 20-hit parade, and however many runs they scored.

"You keep fighting, you shower this one off and you come out tomorrow."

"It's a loss. You've got to forget about it and look forward to tomorrow," said Perlozzo. "There's nothing else to do. We've been playing good baseball and we had a game where everything just kind of fell apart on us. You pick it up and tomorrow, it starts all over again. That's the way we're going to approach it."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.