After battling back to tie visiting Hudson Valley in the middle of their Sunday night contest at Ripken Stadium, the Aberdeen IronBirds watched their losing streak extend to 11 straight games after the visitors piled on five runs in the final two innings in a 9-4 loss for the home club.
Sunday's defeat knocked Aberdeen down to 1-16 for the season. Heading into Monday, the IronBirds trailed third-place Staten Island by nine games in the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division. Second-place Brooklyn was ahead of Aberdeen by 10 games, while first-place Hudson Valley 11 games in front.
Hudson Valley kicked off scoring in the top of the first, getting to Aberdeen starter Nick Cunningham for a grand slam to go up, 4-0.
Playing in his second game with Aberdeen since joining the IronBirds over the weekend, second baseman Jemile Weeks sparked Aberdeen's rally with a leadoff double in the bottom of the third.
Weeks, who played three games with the Orioles earlier this year after being acquired from Oakland in an off-season trade involving former Baltimore closer Jim Johnson, finished the game 2-for-3. How long he will stay with Aberdeen, and whether he will move back with the Orioles when Baltimore third baseman, and former IronBird, Manny Machado starts his five-game suspension for an earlier bat-throwing incident has not been decided at this point.
"What we do with [Weeks] once Manny is suspended is up to our baseball operations department," Oriole's Media Relations Manager Jeff Lantz said. "There is nothing official or concrete to report at this time."
Weeks scored on a wild pitch after moving to third on a sacrifice bunt, while Steve Wilkerson, who reached on a walk, later plated the IronBirds' second run, also on a wild pitch.
After reaching on a one-out walk in the third, Aberdeen's Tad Gold moved to third on a Jay Gonzalez double, then scored his team's third run on another wild pitch by Hudson Valley. Gonzalez later came home with the tying run on an RBI groundout from Justin Viele.
Things fell apart for Aberdeen in the eighth, when reliever Stefan Crichton surrendered four runs on three singles, a triple and a walk.
Hudson Valley scored once more in the top of the ninth on reliever Dariel Delgado, while Aberdeen went down in order in its final at bat, allowing the guests to walk off with the five-run victory.
Gonzalez, the only IronBird other than Weeks who had multiple hits, finished the game 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
Crichton (1-3) was charged with the loss, having allowed four earned runs on five hits over 2-2/3 innings of work.
The IronBirds were blanked for the second night in a row on Saturday, as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of visiting Hudson Valley at Ripken Stadium.
Saturday's game marked Aberdeen's 10th straight loss, and its third shutout defeat this week.
Aberdeen starter Bennett Parry went three innings in a no decision, striking out three, walking three and holding Hudson Valley to three hits.
Reliever Tanner Chleborad took over in the fourth and allowed one hit in one inning of work.
Josh Walker (0-1) was hung with the loss, as he allowed both of the game's run on three hits in the fifth.
Nigel Nootbaar tossed one no-hit inning of relief for Aberdeen, while Nik Nowottnick tossed two innings in which he allowed one hit, struck out one and walked one. Ivan Hernandez closed out the game for Aberdeen, striking out one and walking one in the ninth.
Jemile Weeks, Riley Palmer and Oswill Lartiguez accounted for all of the IronBirds' hits, with each collecting a single. Weeks has been trying to work his way back to the Orioles.
Aberdeen comes back to Ripken Stadium on Sunday to wrap up the three game set with Hudson Valley. First pitch for that game will be 5:35 p.m.
Bundy solid in third start
On the one-year anniversary of his 2013 Tommy John operation, Baltimore Orioles' 2011 first-round draft pick Dylan Bundy made his third rehab start with the Aberdeen IronBirds, tossing five shutout innings against the visiting Hudson Valley Renegades at Ripken Stadium before exiting prior to the sixth.
Unfortunately, Bundy's solid start did not help the IronBirds snap out of their losing streak, as the hosts suffered a 1-0 loss, their ninth straight defeat, at the hands of the visiting Renegades.
The latest defeat knocked Aberdeen down to 1-14 on the season.
Through five innings, Bundy struck out five, walked two and held the Renegade lineup to a pair of hits.
When he underwent surgery on June 27, 2013 to repair a damaged tendon in his right elbow, Bundy set June 27, 2014 as the goal for his return to live-game pitching. Friday's start, his third since joining the IronBirds prior to the start of their season earlier this month, proved that he's well ahead of his self-imposed schedule.
"I said a year ago that I wanted to be back by June 27, it didn't matter at what level," Bundy, speaking to reporters after the game, said. "It could have been in the Gulf Coast League, I didn't care. To be back pitching ahead of schedule, I'm really pleased."
The 21-year-old righty surrendered a single to right on his first pitch of the game, but settled down to retire the next two hitters on strikeouts, while the leadoff man was gunned down trying to steal second by IronBirds catcher Jonah Heim to end the inning.
Bundy faced four hitters in each of the next four innings, but held the visitors scoreless over that stretch. He was pulled out after the fifth inning having thrown 70 pitches.
"When I came out, I felt like a had a little more in the tank," Bundy said. "I think I could have come back out for the sixth. But, that's okay. I know they're just trying to be cautious. Just feeling like I could have come out and pitched the sixth or the seventh is good."
At points, Bundy's fastball hit 94 mph on Ripken Stadium's radar gun readout.
"My velocity was good," Bundy said. "You can get people out with 92, 90 [mph pitches], but you just have to have command. My curveball was pretty good tonight. I left a few of them up in the zone in the fifth [inning] and they hit one of them for a double. My change up was coming in around 87 [mph], which is really firm for me. That's something I'm going to work on."
Bundy was told by Orioles' staff that he would make either three or four starts with Aberdeen before moving to another one of Baltimore's minor league affiliates; however, he said Friday he isn't sure a fourth start with the IronBirds is in the cards.
"I haven't been told what the next step is," Bundy said. "I think that's what we're going to be talking in the clubhouse in about an hour."
Following Bundy's departure from Friday's game, IronBirds reliever Augey Bill (0-1) allowed the game's lone run in the top of the seventh on three singles.
The only IronBird to reach base in the final three innings, Steve Wilkerson, who drew a walk in the eighth, was retired on an inning-ending double play.
Oswill Lartiguez and Heim, who both went 2-for-3 with two singles, were the only IronBirds with multiple hits.
Eight straight losses – and counting
The Aberdeen IronBirds' woes continued on Thursday night, as they suffered their eighth straight loss in a 6-2 road defeat at the hands of the Brooklyn Cyclones.
With the loss, Aberdeen dropped to 1-13 on the season and fell nine games behind first-place Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division. Through Thursday's defeat, Aberdeen trailed third-place Staten Island by seven games, and second-place Hudson Valley by eight games.
Brooklyn got to Aberdeen starter Stephen Tarpley for one earned run in the bottom of the first, but Aberdeen answered in the top half of the second, as Hector Veloz led off the inning with his second home run of the season to tie the game, 1-1.
Brooklyn went back ahead in the third, scoring on a single, a steal and a throwing error.
Aberdeen's Jamil Moquete tied the game up on his own in the top of the sixth, blasting a one-out home run, his first of the season, over the right field wall.
Tarpley left the game after six innings with three strikeouts, one walk and having allowed one earned run on seven hits.
Brady Adamek (0-1) came out of the bullpen in the seventh and surrendered three runs (two earned) before exiting with two outs.
Reliever Garrett Cortright got Aberdeen out of the seventh but then surrendered one earned run on two hits in the eighth, which put Brooklyn up 6-2.
Veloz, the only IronBird with multiple hits, went 2-for-2 with a homer and a single.
The IronBirds return to Ripken Stadium on Friday for a six-game homestand with Hudson Valley and Staten Island.
In Friday's matchup, which starts at 7:05 p.m., Orioles' 2011 first-round pick Dylan Bundy is slated to make this third rehab start with Aberdeen since returning from elbow surgery last June.