BOSTON — Now that the Orioles' bullpen has returned to the conventional seven-reliever setup, roles will be magnified for each reliever.
That goes for right-hander Tommy Hunter, who allowed back-to-back homers in the sixth inning of Wednesday's game against the Red Sox before the Orioles rallied in a five-run ninth for an 8-5 win at Fenway Park.
Hunter, who was the first Orioles pitcher to take the mound after a 43-minute rain delay, actually started the inning strong by striking out the first two batters, including outlasting third baseman Will Middlebrooks on an 11-pitch at bat.
But after striking out Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both homered on 96-mph fastballs.
"It's frustrating for Tommy because he has too good of stuff to have that happen to him as often as it does," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "But you also see the three or four hitters he will go through that he will look as good as you want to see. It's up to us and him to figure out a way to minimize that from happening."
Hunter has allowed three homers in 3 2/3 relief innings this season. Last season, Hunter allowed 32 homers in 133 2/3 innings. Hunter allowed 30 of those homers in 20 starts before he was moved to the bullpen to become a reliever.