After giving up singles to two of the first three batters Saturday, Bruce Chen responded with the veteran poise that Royals manager Ned Yost has come to expect the last five seasons.
Chen bounced back and retired the next nine batters before giving up another hit in the fourth inning. He finished with seven strikeouts and no walks in 6 1/3 innings while holding the White Sox to one unearned run in the Royals’ 4-3 victory.
“He just does what Bruce does,” manager Ned Yost said. “It’s amazing at this point in his career that he is as productive as he is. It is tremendous work ethic, a lot of homework that he does. Boy, he sure did a nice job for us today.”
After two singles and a fielder’s choice, Chen struck out the next two and ended the first inning. He added three more strikeouts in the next two innings.
Chen’s streak of nine retired batters ended with a single by Dayan Viciedo in the fourth. Conor Gillaspie added another, but Chen quickly stopped the rally with a pop-up and a ground-out. The unearned run came in the fourth after a leadoff single by Alexei Ramirez and a two-base error by Mike Moustakas that pushed him to third. He scored on a ground-out. Chen worked one more scoreless inning before exiting in the top of the seventh with a 3-1 lead.
“I felt like I was mixing in my pitches really well and Salvador (Perez) read the way I was feeling, and we mixed in some really good pitches in tough situations,” Chen said. “My defense did a really good job, and we played really well.”
Chen, who has more than 10 years of pitching experience, is beginning his sixth year in Kansas City. He previously made stops with the Braves, Phillies, Mets, Expos, Reds, Astros, Red Sox, Orioles and Rangers but seems to have found a home with the Royals.
“Me and Ned go way back and I am glad that I’ve been able to work hard and gain the trust of my manager, and I’m very happy that I’ve been consistent so my teammates can rely on me,” Chen said. “The most important thing is for me to keep doing that over and over so that we can keep winning ballgames.”