The Baltimore Orioles made good of their trip to Fenway Park last night with a 6-3 victory, evening the series in Boston.
Whereas Fenway “Pahk” wasn’t so kind to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night, they used it to their advantage in game two of a three-game set last night. But perhaps more importantly, the Orioles got a decent outing out of starting pitcher Dylan Bundy. Bundy’s line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 4 K.
Bundy, along with Boston starter Drew Pomeranz, had a tough second inning – so it’s fortuitous that he even made it 5.1 innings in the game. But he buckled down after that second inning and got himself together. At the end of the day, he left the game with a shot to be the winner – which he ended up being.
J.J. Hardy smacked a three-run homer in the second inning. It was hit so hard that it would have left the yard had it not hit a sign above the green monster. Nolan Reimold added a two-run homer later in the inning, and the Orioles put Boston on notice that this game would be different from the one the previous night.
However as I said, Bundy started to struggle (with control problems) in the second inning. He loaded the bases with nobody out, and then proceeded to walk in two runs. However he also pitched out of that jam, and we played on. Buck Showalter started to get someone up in the bullpen, but it wasn’t needed. It’s interesting to me how pitchers will struggle for one inning, but then magically work things out and be able to continue.
Bundy would give up one more run, on a solo homer by Xander Bogaerts in the fifth. After he departed the Oriole bullpen took things from there, shutting Boston down. The Birds would add an insurance run in the top of the ninth on Jonathan Schoop’s solo homer, and they finished with a 6-3 win at Fenway.
One concern coming out of this game for the Orioles is utility man Steve Pearce, who’s having continual elbow discomfort. He’s going to see a specialist in NY to get a second opinion, however manager Buck Showalter said that he’s having trouble opening a drawer – that’s how bad the pain is. So he may be shelved for the remainder of the season and/or the post season.
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After his last start we put forth that Bundy had to learn how to win when his best stuff wasn’t at his disposal. While he performed valiently, I’m not sure that his best stuff was at his disposal last night. And he found a way to make due. That’s a sign that he’s progressing well. And at this point in the season it’s not about pitching seven innings and giving the bullpen a blow – it’s about winning however you can.
The Orioles are now two games out of first behind Boston, and they’re two games in front of Detroit in the wild card. They’re tied with Toronto both for second place in the AL East, and for the top wild card spot. Keep in mind that if the O’s end up winning the wild card, that positioning makes a difference. In an automatic elimination game, being the first wild card means you play that game at home. It’s not just a matter of being in your park in front of your fans, but also you get your last at-bat. The Orioles would much rather have that (at Oriole Park at Camden Yards) than have to travel to Rogers Centre.
The series at Fenway Park will conclude this evening. Kevin Gausman will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Rick Porcello. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.