Baltimore Orioles: Another quality start, another victory

Dylan Bundy gave the Baltimore Orioles another quality start last night against Kansas City, and the Birds certainly took advantage of it. Bundy’s line: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 earned), 1 BB, 5 K. It’s no coincidence that the O’s have won four straight games now, and the pitching has been solid. It begins and ends with starting pitching.

But you also rely on your offense to score you runs. If Oriole bats had remained silent last night and Bundy had turned in the same effort, the O’s would have lost 2-0. In fact that’s probably the type of game that Kansas City would have expected coming in. But it’s certainly not what they got.

The O’s jumped on it early as Jonathan Schoop smacked an RBI-single in the last of the first. Trey Mancini followed with an RBI-double, and the O’s led 2-0 right off the bat. However Kansas City cut that lead in half in the third with an RBI-single off the bat of Merrifield. Still, from the Orioles’ standpoint, no reason to worry.

Adam Jones, the birthday boy (who turned 32 yesterday), gave the O’s their two-run lead back an inning later with an RBI-single. Smith added a two-RBI single, and Castillo an additional RBI-single, both in the fifth. Smith would also add an additional run in the seventh, before Kansas City got one back in the ninth. However that came with two outs in the ninth, and the game long over.

This game seemed to roll the way that the Orioles were hoping a lot more of their games would go this year. Especially with Bundy on the mound, who seems to be coming into his own. And there’s nothing like a dominant eight-inning performance to cement that.

The win put Buck Showalter in sole possession of 24th place all-time for wins as a manager with 1,481. He passed none other than Orioles’ great, Earl Weaver, and he addressed this after the game (quote courtesy of Jeffrey Flanagan and Brittany Ghiroli, MLB.com):

One, it was way too short, but he loved the Orioles and he had time for me. He didn’t have to, believe me. Getting to take him around to some of our drills in [Spring Training in] Sarasota, he was so in his element. You could see some of the challenges we all get as we get older, but once he got in between the lines and around grass and around players, you could see there was a whole different comfort level.

Earl loved Baltimore, he loved the Orioles. Anybody who didn’t share that didn’t get along too well with him.

The O’s will go for the series sweep tonight at Camden Yards in the series finale. Jeremy Hellickson will make his Orioles’ debut on the mound tonight, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jason Vargas. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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