Bundy, bullpen, Kim’s home run lift O’s

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Jon Meoli jme­oli@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/JonMe­oli eencina@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­dieInTheYard BOX SCORE

If the Ori­oles’ game Sun­day was their last at Cam­den Yards this sea­son, a team that has con­founded even while im­press­ing all year went out in fa­mil­iar style.

The Ori­oles capped a three­game sweep of the vis­it­ing Ari­zona Diamondbacks with a 2-1 win be­fore an an­nounced 31,229, us­ing a bounce-back start by right-han­der Dy­lan Bundy and four shutout in­nings of re­lief to en­sure that left fielder Hyun Soo Kim’s two-run home run was all the of­fense they needed.

Three straight wins don’t make the mid­week sweep by the Bos­ton Red Sox any more palat­able, but they do keep the Ori­oles in a good play­off spot as the fi­nal week of the reg­u­lar sea­son be­gins.

“Th­es­tart­ing pitch­ing did a great job the last three days, and that kind of set the tone for ev­ery­thing,” closer Zach Brit­ton said. “And then the of­fense, we gave them a chance to get go­ing, and they scored some runs and the bullpen came in and did a great job.”

Bundy (10-6) struck out five bat­ters while al­low­ing a run on three hits in five in­nings, eras­ing the sour mem­ory of his most re­cent start against Bos­ton. He low­ered his ERA to 4.02 this sea­son, and 4.52 since join­ing the start­ing ro­ta­tion at the All-Star break.

“It’s a team win,” Bundy said. “That’s all we’re ask­ing for right now. I was hop­ing to go deep, but my pitch count got up there in the Hyun Soo Kim bats in the fourth in­ning. His sec­ond-in­ning homer was one of five Ori­oles hits. fourth and fifth in­nings, so I was happy to go five and leave the game with the guys be­ing ahead.”

Kim’s home run was one of just five hits the Ori­oles had. Diamondbacks rookie Braden Ship­ley (4-5) let just three base run­ners en­ter scor­ing po­si­tion.

The Ori­oles im­proved to 85-71, in­clud­ing 50-31 at Cam­den Yards. They can no longer win the Amer­i­can League East but are 11⁄ games ahead of the Detroit Tigers, who lost Sun­day, for the sec­ond wild-card berth with a week to play.

“It’s a great feel­ing, the week be­fore the sea­son is over, that we are still in it,” Kim said through in­ter­preter Danny Lee. “But it’s im­por­tant that we are in it af­ter a week. I will make [sure] I am­part of it and the team goes to the right place.” Kim flirts with .300: En­ter­ing the game bat­ting a sea­son-low .301, Kim was flirt­ing with the pos­si­bil­ity of go­ing be­low .300 for the first time in his ma­jor league ca­reer.

So what did he do? Kimhome­red with des­ig­nated hit­ter Pe­dro Alvarez on first base af­ter his lead­off sin­gle. Kim’s fifth home run of the year brought his av­er­age up to .303. In his sec­ond at-bat, Kim grounded out be­fore be­ing pinch-hit for in the sev­enth in­ning. Well- rested bullpen strikes again: Af­ter left-han­der Wade Mi­ley recorded all but one of the 27 outs re­quired Satur­day, Ori­oles man­ager Buck Showal­ter had all of his bullpen weapons at his dis­posal Sun­day, and used them with great suc­cess.

Right-han­der My­chal Givens struck out four and al­lowed only one base run­ner, a hit bats­man, in two score­less in­nings of re­lief. In 11 in­nings this month, he has al­lowed one earned run.

Brad Brach made it a lit­tle hairier, walk­ing left fielder Chris Owings with one out in the eighth in­ning and watch­ing him steal sec­ond base, but Brach struck out first base­man Paul Gold­schmidt and catcher Wel­ing­ton Castillo to end the in­ning.

Brit­ton recorded his 46th save in 46 chances with a clean ninth in­ning, strik­ing out two while al­low­ing one hit. against Bos­ton, draw­ing an av­er­age of 36,551 in their three games af­ter an an­nounced 31,229 showed up Sun­day. In 81 home games over­all, the Ori­oles av­er­aged 26,819, cur­rently 20th in the ma­jors.

They fin­ished their fi­nal home­s­tand of the reg­u­lar sea­son 5-6. Whether Cam­den Yards will re­open for post­sea­son base­ball again this year re­mains to be seen, but the Ori­oles fin­ished their home slate do­ing all they could to en­sure an­other home game. The Ori­oles need to earn the first wild-card spot or ad­vance to the AL Di­vi­sion Se­ries for that to hap­pen.

“I thought about this home­s­tand, how much we wanted to play well and win the games in front of that type of crowd,” Showal­ter said. “End of the reg­u­lar sea­son, ob­vi­ously … is for the fans. You want to re­pay their sup­port more than any­thing.

“Their sup­port has a lot to do with us hav­ing a good record,” Showal­ter added. “It’s al­ways been — what’s a good word? — [a] refuge or safe haven for us. A lot goes into mak­ing that at­mos­phere such [as it is], from the club­house to the play­ers to the fans to the or­ga­ni­za­tion as a whole, and most of all, the city. It played to our ad­van­tage.”

GAIL BUR­TON/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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