Tonight was a good night, in part because the Orioles hit more home runs than their opponent. In fact, Baltimore’s pitching staff did not allow a single home run in this one. A three-run shot by Jonathan Villar and a solo homer by Stevie Wilkerson paced the O’s offense in a 5-1 win over the Indians.
Dylan Bundy was solid on the mound, although he did not go past the sixth because of an elevated pitch count.
The Indians got on the board first on account of some bad luck in the field for the O’s. With two outs in the second, Villar had a costly error on a ground ball to shallow right field in the shift. As a result, Jose Ramirez reached first and promptly stole second base before scoring on a Jake Bauers single.
The inning turned over and Rio Ruiz led off the third with a double to the gap in right-center. Coming into the game, Ruiz was hitting .313/.450/.500 in his last 16 at-bats. Austin Wynns followed with a single and Villar cleared the bases with a three-run shot to right. It was his fifth homer of the year, giving the Orioles a 3-1 lead.
Dwight Smith Jr. came to the plate next and doubled down the right field line, but he was stranded at second after consecutive strikeouts to Trey Mancini and Chris Davis.
Bundy was working in and out of trouble for most of the night. He got a couple of quick outs to start the third before finding himself with runners at second and first after a single and a walk. But he struck out Carlos Gonzalez to end the inning.
Wilkerson led off the fourth with his fourth home run of the season. He went down low to pull a Rodriguez breaking ball into the seats in right, giving the Orioles a 4-1 lead. Like Ruiz, Wilkerson came into the game with a hot bat, hitting .350/.381/.600 the past seven days.
In a bit of a surprise move, Bundy came out to start the sixth inning despite a pitch count at 100. He got the first two outs on three pitches before walking Bauers. That prompted a call to the bullpen by pitching coach Doug Brocail, as reliever Branden Kline watched from afar.
The next batter, Jordan Luplow, got locked in an epic battle with Bundy. On the tenth pitch, Luplow hit what seemed like a routine ground ball to Villar. The Birds’ second baseman was shifted over to the shortstop’s area, where he failed to come up with Luplow’s ground ball, placing runners at second and first.
That would end Bundy’s night. The right-hander threw a season high 118 pitches, allowing an unearned run in 5.2 innings with three hits and three walks. He had 7 strikeouts, including K’s to end the second, third and fourth innings.
For those radar gun watchers out there, Bundy worked most of the night with a fastball in the 89-91 mph range.
Branden Kline came in and was able to induce a ground ball to end the sixth. He also breezed through the seventh, needing only nine pitches to dispatch the Indians in order.
The Orioles added an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI double to the gap in right-center by Wilkerson, who was thrown out while retreating back to second base at the end of the play. The O’s new center fielder finished the night 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored, raising his average to .292.
Kline walked Carlos Santana to start the eighth and Brandon Hyde wasted no time coming out to the mound to make a switch. Right-hander Shawn Armstrong came on to try and finish the inning.
Wilkerson showed off his athleticism in center field on a ball that was smoked off the bat of Gonzalez. Stevie may have initially misread the ball hit right at him, but he sprinted back towards the warning track and made a lunging catch over his head. Armstrong got the next two batters on strikeouts, moving the Orioles one inning closer to a win.
Mychal Givens came on in the ninth with a four-run lead and slammed the door shut on the Indians, even though it wasn’t a save situation. He retired the side in order on two strikeouts and a ground out.
Dylan Bundy got the win for the Orioles, improving his record to 2-5 on the year and lowering his ERA to 4.66. Jefry Rodriguez took the loss for the Indians, allowing four runs on seven hits and one walk with five strikeouts in 6.2 innings. He is now 1-3.
The Orioles were able to even the series at one apiece with the win tonight, but there are still two games left in Cleveland before the Birds head back home.
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