Chen basks in pinch-hit feat, ready for more

Chen basks in pinch-hit feat, ready for more

HOUSTON -- A day after becoming the first Royals' pitcher in franchise history to record a hit as a pinch-hitter, Bruce Chen was still telling teammates that he picked up the hit trying to go the opposite way with a two-strike approach.

"But in reality, the guy's throwing 91 [mph] and I was late on my swing and it happens to find a hole, but they don't know that," Chen said.

In the top of the 13th inning in Sunday's game against the Cardinals, manager Ned Yost sent Chen to pinch-hit for pitcher Tim Collins, batting second after a double switch in the ninth.

On a 3-2 count, Chen grounded a fastball from Fernando Salas in the hole between third base and shortstop.

Chen now has a .149 average for his career in 121 at-bats. With the Royals carrying just 11 position players for Monday's game, Chen said the coaching staff told all the pitchers to be ready to play.

"I'm going to have my spikes on and try to help my team win," Chen said.

Chen, a left-handed batter, noted that the Astros were starting two lefties -- J.A. Happ and Wandy Rodriguez -- in the first two games of the series.

"My chances are diminishing right now," Chen said with a smile.