It was a good old fashioned pitcher’s duel tonight at Camden Yards. Royals’ starter Brad Keller went six scoreless innings and Orioles’ starter Dylan Bundy allowed one run over seven. But Kansas City’s bullpen proved to be the difference maker in the game, to the Orioles’ benefit.
Bundy came into this game carrying a 7.83 ERA in the first inning this year. He bucked that trend tonight with a 1-2-3 first against the Royals that included two strikeouts. He punched out Jorge Soler — who was tied for fifth most home runs in baseball at the start of play — on a slider for a called third strike. Then he rung up number three hitter Hunter Dozier (.290/.368/.559) on a four-seam fastball for a called third strike.
The only run scored off of Bundy came in the second inning. Alex Gordon led off with a single and Ryan O’Hearn followed with a single of his own, advancing Gordon to third. Then Melbrys Viloria hit a sacrifice fly to center, accounting for the Royals’ only run all evening.
The fourth inning has been another hurdle for Bundy this season, where he’s had a 5.48 ERA. But he got through it just fine tonight, using the same formula he did in the first: a ground out and two strikeouts. Through four innings, the right-hander had six strikeouts and a pitch count of 54, which is quite low considering all those missed bats.
The defense even flashed the leather a bit in this one. Bundy got out of the fifth on a beautiful double play started on a back-handed stop by Jonathan Villar in the hole at short.
In the sixth inning this year, Bundy has a 12.10 ERA. To start the sixth tonight, Soler reached on a ground ball in the hole at short that Villar couldn’t handle. But Bundy was able to roll a crucial double play to clear the bases. Then he got a line drive out to center to finish a scoreless inning.
The O’s had a decent chance to get on the board in the bottom of the sixth when they put runners on first and second with no outs. But Trey Mancini flied out to right, showing his frustration on the way back to the dugout. Then the Royals’ Bubba Starling had an impressive diving catch in the gap in right center, followed by another harmless Orioles’ fly ball to end the inning.
Baltimore finally got on the board in the seventh, when Jace Peterson led off the inning with a single to center. DJ Stewart then reached first on a ground ball to second baseman Whit Merrifield because nobody was covering first base. Then Rio Ruiz flicked a single the other way into left field to score Peterson and tie the game, 1-1.
Brandon Hyde chose to remove Dylan Bundy after the seventh inning with his pitch count at only 83 pitches. Curious, to say the least. It was only the fourth time this year Bundy reached the seventh. He’s reached the eighth inning once in 2019 and he’s never pitched into the ninth this year.
Bundy finished the night with one run allowed on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Hunter Harvey came on in the eighth for his second career appearance and it was impressive. He induced a line out to left and then registered two consecutive strikeouts, regularly hitting 99 mph. His final pitch to end the inning registered at 100 mph. By the way, does anyone else see a passing resemblance to actor Shia LaBeouf?
The Birds got some late game magic in the form a Hanser Alberto three-run home run. Mancini walked to start the inning and was followed by two consecutive pop outs. Then Peterson walked and Alberto launched his eighth home run of the year into the O’s bullpen. It was caught by reliever Richard Bleier. 4-1, Orioles.
Mychal Givens earned his 10th save of the season, recording one strikeout and working around a one-out single to preserve the lead in the ninth.
Hunter Harvey was the pitcher of record when the Orioles got the lead in the eighth, giving him his first major league win.
The O’s broke their eight-game losing streak with the victory tonight. Also, the Birds’ pitching staff did not allow a home run in the game, staving off record breaking history for at least one more night.
Statistics provided by Baseball Reference.
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