'Crisp' Chen impresses Showalter with start

'Crisp' Chen impresses Showalter with start

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter found a lot to like about the way his pitching staff performed in Sunday's 9-2 win over the Pirates. Baltimore held Pittsburgh to five hits and one walk while striking out 11 batters, and the Bucs' only runs came on homers given up by reliever Brad Brach.

Showalter was particularly pleased with the performance of left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who was coming off a rough spring debut against the Yankees on Tuesday. Chen allowed two runs on five hits, a homer and a walk in that outing, but he bounced back Sunday with two strikeouts in three scoreless innings of one-hit ball.

"Chen was crisp. It was good to see," Showalter said. "The changeup was very effective. ... [Command] was really good. I thought he was a little crisper, stuff-wise, too, especially to carry it that many innings. It was kind of a hitter-friendly day. I felt very encouraged with the progress they made with the changeup and the breaking ball."

Chen echoed what Showalter said, crediting his sharper command for his improved performance Sunday.

"I think the main difference is my command is better than the last outing," Chen said. "I was able to keep the ball low and hit the both sides of the plate. I think that's the main difference."

Chen also agreed that his changeup is ahead of his other pitches, and its effectiveness against the Pirates backed up Chen's words.

"The changeup works the best for me," Chen said. "The curveball and my slider are not 100 percent yet, so I will try and get a better feel for that in the next few outings."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.