Bruce (Chen) almighty against Rays

The Kansas City Royals' Bruce Chen pitched a two-hit shutout against the Tampa Bay Rays, who were tied for first place in the American League East at the start of the day.


It was Chen's team-leading 12th win of the season, one shy of his career high. (He went 13-10 in 2005 with the Baltimore Orioles). Twenty-five percent of his career wins (12 of 48) have now come in 2010.

More impressive is the fact that this was the first shutout of Chen's 12-year career.

Rays hitters went:

• 1-for-21 against Chen's fastball with six strikeouts.

• 0-for-14 when Chen was ahead in the count.

• 0-for-18 in plate appearances that went three pitches or more.

Both hits allowed by Chen came when he was behind in the count.

Some other facts about Chen's performance, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau:

Chen had made 143 career starts prior to Friday's gem. The last pitcher whose first career shutout came after start No. 143 was Dan Haren on Sept. 16, 2008 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the 152nd start of Haren's career.

Chen has now thrown 1,009⅔ innings in his career. The last pitcher whose first career shutout came after throwing at least 1,000 innings was Brett Tomko of the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 26, 2004.

The last time a pitcher threw a shutout in October against a first-place team was exactly six years ago on Oct. 1, 2004 when Dave Bush of the Toronto Blue Jays blanked the New York Yankees, 7-0. Like the 2010 Royals, the 2004 Blue Jays were a last-place team.