Bundy helps O’s end skid at six

The Star Democrat - - SPORTS -

BAL­TI­MORE — Dy­lan Bundy fi­nally got his groove back.

The Ori­oles right-han­der — whose sea­son had spun out of con­trol over his pre­vi­ous 11 out­ings go­ing into Thurs­day night — had been search­ing for an­swers.

He’d talked re­peat­edly about the need to lo­cate his fast­ball bet­ter. But af­ter his most re­cent start, in Tampa Bay last Fri­day night, be­fore say­ing his frus­tra­tion level had reached its limit — 10 out of 10, in his words — he added that he needed to start throw­ing his pitches with more con­vic­tion.

And that was the Bundy who sud­denly re-emerged Thurs­day night against the con­tend­ing Oak­land Ath­let­ics, a con­fi­dent pitcher able to use mul­ti­ple weapons to avoid a big in­ning and re­main in con­trol of a game.

In steer­ing the Ori­oles to a 5-3 win over the Ath­let­ics — a win that avoided a three-game sweep, ended a six-game los­ing streak and halted a stretch of 10 losses in 11 games — Bundy looked more like the pitcher who ran out to a quick start to the sea­son in this year’s first month rather than the one who plod­ded through most of the se­cond half.

Go­ing into this start, there was some ques­tion whether it might be his last of the sea­son. De­spite want­ing to find a way for Bundy to end this sea­son on a pos­i­tive night, the club won­dered whether he might be too tired to do so.

It helped Thurs­day that the Ori­oles (42-104) gave him a lead early, us­ing some first-in­ning small ball to cre­ate a 2-0 cush­ion.

Bundy recorded his first qual­ity start since Aug. 4, hold­ing the Ath­let­ics (8957) to two runs on six hits over six in­nings. He struck out eight and walked none, a dra­matic shift from his pre­vi­ous start, when he walked a sea­son-high five bat­ters.

Bundy (8-14), who had an 8.83 ERA over his pre­vi­ous 11 starts, earned his first win since July 29 at Tampa Bay.

He worked ahead of Oak­land hit­ters through­out, post­ing 16 of 24 first-pitch strikes.

His slider Thurs­day might have been his best of the sea­son. Of the 20 slid­ers A’s bat­ters swung at, the A’s put just three in play. And seven of Bundy’s eight strike­outs came on the slider, which was ef­fec­tive both in the strike zone and as a chase pitch down and away.

He recorded 12 swing­ing strikes on the slider, get­ting a 40 per­cent swing­ing strike rate on it. He recorded no swing­ing strikes on the

slider in his pre­vi­ous start, and in his pre­vi­ous six starts com­bined, he had a 22.8 per­cent swing­ing strike rate on the pitch.

Though Bundy al­lowed runs af­ter each in­ning in which the Ori­oles scored, he limited the dam­age. He al­lowed a solo homer by Stephen Pis­cotty — Bundy’s ma­jor-league-high 38th long ball sur­ren­dered — with two outs in the se­cond in­ning af­ter the Ori­oles took a 2-0 lead in the bot­tom of the first, but noth­ing else that frame.

Af­ter a two-run fourth, Bundy al­lowed a run in the fifth on a dou­ble by Mar­cus

Semien off third base­man Re­nato Nunez’s glove and an RBI sin­gle by Nick Mar tini over into left over Nunez.

But Bundy bore down from there in a sit­u­a­tion that has of­ten re­cently got­ten away from him. He threw a first-pitch slider to Josh Phe­g­ley, got him to foul back a high fast­ball, then af­ter Phe­g­ley passed on a slider in the dirt, he caught Phe­g­ley look­ing at a strikethree fast­ball.

Bundy then won a six-pitch bat­tle with lead­off hit­ter Ra­mon Lau­re­ano, strik­ing him out to end the in­ning de­spite fall­ing be­hind 2-1. Bundy struck Lau­re­ano out by get­ting him to swing through a full-count slider

The Ori­oles’ bullpen bent but didn’t break in the late in­nings with My­chal Givens en­ter­ing a 4-3 game with one out and the bases loaded and re­tir­ing the first two bat­ters he faced to end the in­ning.

Af­ter pitch­ing a score­less sev­enth, Miguel Cas­tro al­lowed back-to-back lead­off sin­gles in the eighth. Left­hander Paul Fry en­tered and struck out Jed Lowrie, but then walked Khris Davis and Matt Ol­son, the lat­ter of which walked in a run.

But Givens en­tered the game and struck out Pis­cotty and in­ducted an in­nin­gend­ing fly­out to right by Semien.

Af­ter that, the Ori­oles added an in­sur­ance run on Jace Peter­son’s op­po­site-field dou­ble down the left-field line off A’s re­liever Jeurys Fa­milia that scored Tim Beck­ham.

Givens worked around a lead­off walk in the ninth — get­ting an in­ning-chang­ing div­ing catch from se­cond base­man Breyvic Valera in shal­low right field — to con­vert his sev­enth save.

The Ori­oles took a 2-0 lead in the first af­ter bunt sin­gles by Cedric Mullins and Jonathan Vil­lar came around to score on Tim Beck­ham’s two-out, two-run sin­gle off Oak­land start Brett An­der­son.

They went up 4-1 in the fourth on back-to-back run­scor­ing sin­gles by John An­dreoli and Valera. Trey Mancini opened the in­ning with a sin­gle, and two bat­ters later went to se­cond on Nunez’s sin­gle. Both run­ners moved into scor­ing po­si­tion on a wild pitch be­fore hits by An­dreoli and Valera chased An­der­son from the game.


Ori­oles start­ing pitcher Dy­lan Bundy throws to the Ath­let­ics in the se­cond in­ning of Thurs­day’s game.

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