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Great balls of fire Chen blanks BayStars on 5-hitter, helps Chunichi break 4-game losing streak

by Jim Allen (May 4, 2009)

Chen Wei-yin didn't give much thought to going nine innings, but the Taiwan lefty pitched out three late jams to throw his second career shutout and snap the Dragons' four-game losing streak.

Perfect through six, Chen (2-1) went the distance, and Kazuhiro Wada drove in both runs in a 2-0 Chunichi victory over the Yokohama BayStars at Yokohama Stadium on Sunday.

"Throwing a shutout didn't enter into my thinking, and at the end I was pitching knowing I had a run to give away," said Chen, who allowed five hits and two walks, while striking out five.

The southpaw got away with a few mistakes, but kept Yokohama at bay by pinpointing a 150-kph heater all afternoon.

"It wasn't about how hard I was throwing, but rather how the game came together," said Chen, who hung a few pitches early on that were either mis-hit or hit on a line to a Dragons fielder.

Wada put the Dragons on the board in the fourth with his Central League-leading ninth home run, a two-run shot off BayStars starter Ryan Glynn.

Glynn (1-2) allowed seven hits and a walk over seven innings, while striking out two.

Tony Blanco opened the fourth with a line double down the first-base line and scored when Wada hammered a high 0-1 fastball to right for an opposite-field homer.

"It's been tough on the fielders, the pitchers, everyone," the No. 5 hitter said of the losing streak that saw the Dragons start the day a half-game ahead of the cellar-dwelling 'Stars.

"We all have to pull together and get it done. That goes for everyone, but if the guys in the middle of the order don't hit, you're not going to win. So I feel some added responsibility there."

BayStars leadoff man Takehiro Ishikawa broke up Chen's bid for a perfect game with a line leadoff single in the seventh.

Yokohama skipper Akihiko Oya played for one run by having his No. 2 hitter sacrifice and ended up stranding two in the inning.

The hosts squandered another chance in the eighth after Yuki Yoshimura failed to reach second base on a leadoff shot off the left-field wall. The slugger didn't sprint down the line, and by the time he realized it wouldn't reach the seats, it was too late. The speedy Yoshimura made it easily to third on Hiroaki Onishi's line single to right, but failed to come home.

Chen dispatched the next two batters on one pitch apiece. Ishikawa, who was robbed of an infield single in the fourth and drove the ball well in the first inning, walked to load the bases, but Chen escaped unscathed.

"We had our chances, but we just couldn't take advantage of them," Oya said. "Chen was on his game, particularly with that fastball."

The 23-year-old didn't expect to go the distance when teammate Masaaki Koike took his place in the batter's box in the top of the ninth. But Koike returned to the dugout and Chen reached on an infield single against 45-year-old lefty Kimiyasu Kudo.

"I didn't think I pitched well enough to go nine, so I wasn't surprised to see Koike getting ready," said Chen, who has yet to allow a run in 15 innings against Yokohama.


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