It begins and ends with starting pitching, and the Baltimore Orioles finally got a noteworthy starting performance – in this case from Dylan Bundy. Save for one inning (in which he threw two bad pitches) Bundy kept Tampa hitters guessing the entire game. Bundy’s line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 8 K.
This is a start and a game that the Orioles must build off of if they’re going to make a season of this. That means scraping together a win this afternoon in the series finale to take the series. That would also mean starting a winning streak, and gaining some momentum.
The best part of yesterday’s game for the Orioles was that Bundy had some help from his friends. The O’s got the lead in the second inning when Welington Castillo smacked a two-run homer – following one of several Oriole hit batsmen on the day. One inning later Adam Jones added a solo shot of his own, and the O’s led 3-0.
And it’s a good thing Jones added on that run. Because Tampa struck in the third, and with two outs at that. It’s continually amazing to me that the O’s will record two outs and then the opponent will strike. Are they letting up a bit; perhaps mentally they’re already back in the dugout? Tough to say. Nevertheless, Tampa got back-to-back homers; a two-run shot from Dickerson, and a solo from Longoria to tie the game.
However that was the only hiccup that Bundy had on the day. He straightened himself out quickly, and started mowing Tampa hitters down again. Yet the Birds still couldn’t score for awhile – until the seventh inning.
The Birds had Mark Trumbo at the plate with two outs and a two-strike count. Two runners were in scoring position, having been moved there by an Adam Jones groundout. Mind you folks, while Jones couldn’t drive in a run he did move the runners over. And perhaps it’s at-bats like that which have been the missing link for the Orioles of late. Because it set Trumbo up nicely.
Trumbo sent a double to the gap in left center, which went all the way to the wall. It drove in two runs, which gave the Orioles the lead at 5-3. But the Birds weren’t done yet. Mancini immediately smacked a two-run homer which broke the game wide open. One inning later Machado would add a sac fly-RBI, and the Birds cruised to an 8-3 victory.
It also snapped their record-tying streak of 20 games in which they had given up five or more runs. That’s a monkey that everyone in the clubhouse is going to be happy is off their backs. But whether they had won 8-3, 8-0, or 8-7, the Orioles would take it either way. If you only score one more run than the opponent after 27 outs, you still win. And that’s the important stat.
The O’s will go for the series win this afternoon at Tropicana Field. Chris Tillman will get the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.