The shortest outing of Dylan Bundy's otherwise strong 2017 season had a particularly foul feeling to it.
In the Orioles’ 5-2 loss Saturday night at Camden Yards, he threw an even 100 pitches, and allowed just two runs on four hits and a walk in five innings. But 30 of his pitches were fouled off as Boston Red Sox hitters didn’t let him get many quick at-bats.
"It was a push to get through five," manager Buck Showalter said. "They had like 30, 31 foul balls? Kind of did a good job of extending a lot of at-bats, and it kind of piled up on him. He pitched well. He pitched well."
"They were just fouling pitches off and I think that was part to do with them seeing me four times [this season]," Bundy said. "But I was making pitches, and they were just fouling off, pitcher's pitchers that they were fouling off, and you can't control that. It was a tough game."
In the second inning, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. fouled off three 3-2 pitches before striking out to end a nine-pitch at-bat and catcher Christian Vázquez followed it up by fouling off five pitches in another nine-pitch at-bat that ended with a single. That forced Bundy to throw 27 pitches in the frame.
He was efficient in the third, but a 31-pitch fourth inning featured an 11-pitch at-bat by first baseman Mitch Moreland, where he swatted away five foul balls. Three pitches after Moreland was retired, Boston slugger Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run home run to left field to spoil Bundy’s day.
Entering Saturday’s action, according to Statcast data on Baseball Savant, Bundy ranked 11th in baseball with 230 foul balls allowed this season, representing 20.09 percent of his 1,145 pitches thrown.
Saturday’s even 30 percent was a big jump from that, and it cost him.
Bundy’s five innings represented his shortest start of the year after he pitched at least six innings in each of his first 11 starts this season. His ERA rose to 2.93 as he gave way to left-hander Richard Bleier.
Tough spot, rough results: After two scoreless innings of relief from Bleier and with the Orioles (29-25) trailing 2-1, Ubaldo Jiménez came on and struggled out of the bullpen.
Right fielder Mookie Betts worked the count full and led off the inning with his first hit of the series, a double to left field. Betts went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a dribbler to second base by shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts scored from first on a double by Ramirez that gave the Red Sox a 4-1 lead.
With Jiménez’s unique delivery and general difficulty getting into a groove early in games, it’s tough to say when is a good spot to bring him on in relief. Given Showalter’s aversion to using his top relievers when trailing, situations like Saturday are going to require Jiménez from time to time.
But his inclusion in Saturday’s action wasn’t well-received by the Orioles supporters among the 35,460 at Camden Yards, who booed him on his way off the mound.
Showalter said they had no other choice.
"As opposed to who?" he said. "That’s it. We’re not going to use Mike Wright, he had two days in a row. Darren [O'Day] and [Brad Brach] aren’t going to pitch unless we’re ahead, we’re trying to stay away from them. Givens was a no-go tonight. So we had Bleier and them and that’s where we were."
Left-hander Donnie Hart was responsible for Boston’s fifth run in the ninth inning.
Dealing David Price: Bundy’s counterpart, David Price, looked like the time off to start the year as he healed an elbow problem did him a world of good. After going five innings Monday at the Chicago White Sox, Price shut down the Orioles over seven innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts.
Left fielder Joey Rickard singled to open the home half of the first inning, and the Orioles had only one man on base — a leadoff walk in the fourth inning by center fielder Adam Jones — until designated hitter Chris Davis opened the sixth with a single.
Third baseman Manny Machado then led off the seventh with his 12th home run of the year. The Orioles threatened with a pair of two-out hits in the eighth, but closer Craig Kimbrel got out of it. Kimbrel posted a four-out save, but allowed a run on Trey Mancini’s RBI double in the ninth and let the Orioles bring the tying run to the plate before finishing them off.
Manny means business: A season full of games played only against the Red Sox would probably be harder than a traditional major league schedule, but it might be something Machado would enjoy.
Machado led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run to left field, his sixth against Boston this year. His home run Friday night went 465 feet, according to Statcast. At 369 feet, Saturday’s home run was considerably shorter but still worth a run.