- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

BALTIMORE (AP) - Wei-Yin Chen pitched better than he had all season, and Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Chris Archer was never worse.

The result was a lopsided 7-1 victory for the Baltimore Orioles, who got their offense back on track Monday night at Archer’s expense.

Chen (2-1) retired his first 10 batters and didn’t allow a hit until James Loney doubled with one out in the fifth. The left-hander gave up one run, five hits and two walks in 6 1-3 innings.

In his previous two starts, Chen yielded eight runs and 21 hits in 10 2-3 innings.

“I think the main difference tonight was the movement on my pitches was better and the hitters had more trouble with it,” Chen said through a translator.

Chen also got a big assist from his defense, beginning with the first play of the game when third baseman Ryan Flaherty snagged a sharp grounder and threw out Ben Zobrist.

“I thought balls went right at some fielders,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We were fortunate tonight. Real good defense. … The baseball gods were kind to him tonight after not being kind to him early on.”

Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy each had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run for the Orioles, who were coming off a three-game series against Toronto in which they scored only five runs in 30 innings.

In this one, Baltimore built a 6-0 lead over the first three innings and coasted to the finish. The Orioles had 13 hits, including five doubles.

“A lot of big two-out hits, a lot of big RBIs with guys on second,” Wieters said. “It wasn’t really the long ball that did it tonight, but we found a way to win.”

It was by far the poorest of Archer’s 30 big league starts. The seven runs and 12 hits he allowed were both career highs, and his ERA jumped from 1.38 to 4.50.

“I actually felt good about how my stuff was,” Archer said. “I just made too many mistakes - and that’s a good lineup.”

The performance came less than two weeks after the Rays gave Archer a six-year contract that guarantees the right-hander $25.5 million.

“If there is anything to take away from this game, I think it’s how positive and encouraging my teammates were,” Archer said. “They fully believe in me, and when I came out they all said, ‘In five days, you’re going to make somebody pay.’”

Chen was facing a Tampa Bay team that has been struggling at the plate. The Rays have scored only 14 runs in their last eight games and have tallied three runs or fewer in seven of the last eight.

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