SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - Wei-Yin Chen had a couple of firsts on Saturday. He became the first Baltimore Orioles pitcher to throw five innings this spring training and displayed a nifty pickoff move that nabbed two runners during a 3-3, 10-inning tie against Boston.
In a game of split squads, Chen made his third start and blanked Boston until the fifth, when Ryan Lavarnway and Pedro Ciriaco singled and Nate Spears hit a three-run homer.
In the top of the second, Boston's Ciriaco was caught leaning off first. Chen threw over and Ciriaco was out attempting to steal second, ending the inning.
Then Chen picked off Adrian Gonzalez to end the fourth. Chen also nearly caught Boston's Ryan Lavarnway off second base.
``I'm surprised myself, too,' Chen said through his interpreter.
Chen, a native of Taiwan, pitched in Japan the last four seasons before signing with the Orioles in January.
``It's probably my first time to pick off a runner because in Japan, they don't pick off a lot,' Chen said. ``Here, that's a new experience to me. It's one of the new things I'm learning right now.'
Manager Buck Showalter said pitching coach Rick Adair has been teaching Chen pickoffs.
``Chen did not come with that move,' he said.
Chen struck out three and walked two. In 10 innings, he's allowed four runs in 10 innings and given up nine hits.
``I like where he is right now. He's gotten better each time out,' Showalter said.
Aaron Cook gave up one hit in 3 1-3 scoreless innings. In two appearances, both against Baltimore, Cook hasn't allowed a run in 5 1-3 innings.
``I'm pitching to contact, trying to get the guys out of the box as quick as possible and get our guys off the field so they can come in and hit,' said Cook, who signed with Boston after 10 seasons with Colorado. ``I like to pitch to contact. I like to work quick. Today I did everything I went out there to accomplish.'
He thinks he can make the opening-day roster.
``I think there's time, but we're going to have to wait and see how it plays out. Two-and-a-half weeks is a long time.'
Lavarnway, who raised his average to .471 with three hits, said Cook is easy to catch.
``We were on the same page all day today,' Lavarnway said. ``We talked a lot before the game and the last outing. We have a similar style of attacking the hitters, so we work well together.'
NOTES: Baltimore DH Nick Markakis had his first two hits in his second game of spring training. ... The Red Sox were managed by third base coach Tim Bogar. ... Boston wore green jerseys and caps to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The Orioles wore a green bill on their caps with a green bird. ... LHP Tsuyoshi Wada is scheduled to pitch in his first game when Baltimore plays at Atlanta in a split-squad game on Sunday afternoon. The Orioles host the Yankees Sunday night. Showalter is planning to manage both games. On Saturday, Showalter sent bench coach John Russell to manage the split-squad game against the Red Sox in Fort Myers.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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