BALTIMORE - After waiting for more than two hours, the Baltimore Orioles had to get just nine outs to pull out a win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Monday's series opener.
Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter almost blew it, however.
Hunter loaded the bases and then gave up a run on a fielder's choice, which cut Baltimore's lead to 4-3, with only one out in the seventh inning. But then, the hard-throwing right-hander struck out Albert Pujols and got Mark Trumbo to ground out, leaving the bases loaded.
"It doesn't always fall perfectly. You like the end product," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Sometimes we create some things that we shouldn't make it quite that hard. But then again, it is very hard to do. Getting those last nine outs is a challenge."
Hunter has been able to pitch effectively and get himself out of jams this season, as he now sports a 2.06 ERA. Showalter said Hunter's resiliency carried him through the inning.
"Tommy didn't quit firing bullets. He kept competing," Showalter said. "Tommy handled it well."
After Hunter's jam, it was clear sailing for the final six outs. Darren O'Day pitched a scoreless eighth, although he did yield a bunt single.
And then, Jim Johnson had a 1-2-3 ninth inning, all groundouts, to earn his 22nd save. He has pitched seven straight scoreless outings, a total of 6 1-3 innings, since blowing his fourth save of the season in Toronto on May 26.
"He's been a real changer of the game in a positive way," Showalter said.
EXPECTED REST: Orioles second baseman Alexi Casilla has typically started at second base when facing a left-handed starter this season. But Casilla jammed his right index finger when he was thrown out attempting to steal Sunday in Tampa Bay.
Showalter had said he planned to rest him, and that was the case again Tuesday. Showalter did add that the swelling of Casilla's finger had gone down, and he probably could play if they needed him to.
"He's available to us to some extent," Showalter said.
ODDS AND ENDS: Nate McLouth has stolen 19 consecutive bases, which, according to STATS, is the longest active streak in the majors. It is also the third-longest streak since the Orioles moved to Baltimore, according to Elias, behind just Brady Anderson (36) and Luis Aparicio (21).
Entering Tuesday, Chris Davis was hitless in his last four games, his longest hitless streak since June 15-24, 2012 when he was held hitless for eight straight.
Manny Machado entered Tuesday's game with an eight-game hitting streak, the second-longest of his career. However, he had not recorded a multi-hit game in any of his last 10 games, his longest such streak of this season.
Baltimore had hit 86 home runs entering Tuesday, the second-most in the majors, but had allowed 90, which led the majors.
QUICK TURNAROUND: The Orioles and Angels play the series finale at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday. Baltimore's Jason Hammel (7-4, 5.18 ERA) will oppose Jerome Williams (4-2, 2.87).