BALTIMORE -- The A's made life tough for starter Wei-Yin Chen in the first inning on Saturday night, drawing two walks, hitting an infield single and loading the bases with two outs before the left-hander escaped without allowing a run.
That took a lot of work, as Chen needed 27 pitches to get out of that inning, but the rookie left-hander settled down and gave up just one run over seven innings. He also got help from a five-run Baltimore second and Chris Davis' four-RBI effort, and the Orioles rolled to a 10-1 victory over the A's that carried them into a tie with the Rays atop the American League East.
Chen (2-0) scattered six hits over his seven-inning effort, striking out four and walking two. He threw 66 strikes out of 107 pitches and seemed to get better as the game went on despite it being a cold, rainy night.
"[He was] a little fine early, just missing, a little off the plate," manager Buck Showalter said. "Then he got back in the strike zone and trusted himself. He kind of righted himself and was pretty good the last three innings."
Chen went seven innings for the longest start of his brief Orioles career. He's gotten better with each start, and his ERA fell to 2.22 after this outing.
"I feel like I am getting improved every time I go out on the mound," Chen said through his interpreter after the game. "I feel like I am getting better and better. I am really thankful to [pitching] coach Rick [Adair] and all the staff and all the team to be here to support me."
The offense certainly gave him lots of support in this one. Davis led the way by going 3-for-4 -- including a homer that landed on Eutaw Street -- with four RBIs.
Luis Ayala came on after Chen and finished the final two innings with little trouble.
Overall, the Orioles (13-8) banged out 14 hits, and even though 12 of those hits were singles, they came at the right time. Baltimore went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left just three on base. That's a far cry from the A's (11-11), who went hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.
Oakland's best scoring chance came in that first inning. Jemile Weeks drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on Coco Crisp's bunt single to give the A's two on with none out. Jonny Gomes later loaded the bases with a two-out walk before Kurt Suzuki flied out.
"We had our opportunities, especially [early]," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "After that first inning, it felt like a momentum swing. They got out of it, and we could not muster anything after that."
The Orioles then took charge with their five-run second inning. They began the frame with three straight singles, the last of which came from Davis and drove in Adam Jones for the game's first run.
With Ronny Paulino up, Wilson Betemit went to third and Davis to second when catcher Suzuki made a throwing error on a pickoff try. Paulino then drove in Betemit and Davis with a single. Robert Andino later hit an RBI single for the inning's fourth run, and J.J. Hardy's sacrifice fly made it 5-0.
Betemit's RBI double in the fourth gave the Orioles a six-run edge, and they added three more in the fifth. Jones hit an RBI single, and Davis later pitched in with his two-run single for a nine-run lead. Davis then hit his monstrous homer, the 59th to land on Eutaw since the stadium opened 20 years ago.
The four RBIs tied a career high for Davis, who's now homered in three of his last four games, and who feels that playing every day has definitely loosened things up for him. He is hitting .313 with four homers and 11 RBIs.
"Some [TV people] were talking about how big, mentally, it is to know you're going to be in there every day and to know that they have confidence in you, that you're part of the team, that you can produce," Davis said. "This is a team where guys can play a lot of different roles, and to be one of the guys is really something special."
Several other guys also helped. Jones went 3-for-4 with one RBI and three runs scored. Andino finished 3-for-4 with one RBI, and Paulino had the two RBIs.
This is the first time in the last 11 games that Baltimore scored more than five runs.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.