It was a combination of early offense gasp and dominant...wait for it...pitching GASP that allowed the Orioles to continue their dominant play at home with a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians at Camden Yards on Friday night.
The O’s came to the ballpark ready to swing the bats, scoring all five of their runs in the first three innings of the game.
Mark Trumbo was the first run producer. He drove in a trio of runs in the first inning thanks to his 29th DONG of the season. Indians starter Trevor Bauer hung a curveball and Trumbo crushed it towards left field and into the Charm City night. On board were Adam Jones, by way of a single, and Manny Machado, who walked.
The second inning saw the Birds add to the lead with some NL-style offense. A J.J. Hardy single and Caleb Joseph walk to open the frame brought up Julio Bourbon, who did the unthinkable: bunted. It goes down as a sacrifice, but it sure looked like he was going for the hit. Nonetheless, he moved the runners up. And then Jones scored Hardy from third on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
And it was Machado who added a little security in the third inning with a DONG of his own. His bomb went to straight away centerfield and is his 20th long ball of the campaign.
Bundy looks strong
Extreme sweater and professional baseball pitcher Dylan Bundy started a game for the second time in his career and was much better this time around than he was against the Rays last week, or at least had a little better fortune.
Bundy showed good, consistent velocity between 93 and 96 mph with his fastball. But what made him so successful on the night was his use of the changeup. It sat in the low- to mid- 80s and kept the Cleveland hitters off balance, resulting in a number of wonky swings. His final line: five innings, one run on five hits, five strikeouts and no walks and he did so with 87 pitches.
This comes against an Indians lineup that is no pushover. They entered the night as the sixth-highest scoring offense in MLB and the team is currently leading the AL Central by a ridiculous seven games. There are things you could nit-pick about Bundy’s outing, but this was a resounding success and likely earns him yet another turn in the rotation, which would appear to come against the Rockies on Wednesday.
The one run he allowed was unearned. It came in the fifth inning. Abraham Almonte doubled to lead off the frame and then moved to third on a passed ball. The next batter, Chris Giminez ground to Hardy, who threw home to get Almonte but a poorly executed run down resulted in runners on the corners and nobody out. Carlos Santana then grounded into a double play, but Almonte scored. It was a minor blemish on an otherwise outstanding performance.
Saving the bullpen
Despite Bundy only going five innings, the bullpen was not heavily taxed thanks to the performance of Odrisamer Despaigne. He pitched the next 3.2 innings in dominant fashion, allowing no runs on three hits, one walk and four strikeouts. He came within one out of earning his first major league save, but manager Buck Showalter decided to go to closer Zach Britton for the final out when Despaigne got into a little jam in the ninth inning.
There was a scary moment in the top of the seventh. Despaigne was pitching to Juan Uribe and had a 1-2 count. Joseph, the catcher, was set up outside and Despaigne had a 94 mph fastball get away from him and hit Uribe in the ear flap of the helmet. The hitter appeared to remain conscious throughout and seemed to be arguing to stay in the game, but he was removed just in case. The MASN broadcast reported that he was day-to-day with a contusion. It’s pretty clear that this was not on purpose and there were no other hitters plunked in the remainder of the game.
But other than that, it was pretty smooth sailing and Britton came in and easily got the final hitter of the game to ground into a fielder’s choice to Jonathan Schoop at second base to finish the game and give the southpaw his 31st save of the season.
It’s Kevin Gausman (1-7, 4.05 ERA) for the O’s and righty Josh Tomlin (10-2, 3.34) for the Indians. A win for the O’s wins them the three-game series. The performance of Bundy and Despaigne should give Showalter a lot of options out of the ‘pen if needed.
Also, both the Blue Jays and the Red Sox lost their games tonight, so the Orioles are back in first place of the AL East by half a game. That’s a good Friday night.