ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. —
Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy left his fourth and perhaps best start of 2019 reflecting on one pitch he would like back.
Bundy cruised through three no-hit innings Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays before running into trouble in the fourth, a frame in which the Rays struck for all the runs they needed in a 4-2 victory at Tropicana Field.
The only trouble Bundy faced in the first three innings was a leadoff walk to Yandy Díaz in the second, but he induced three straight soft flyouts to escape unscathed as the Orioles built a 2-0 lead against Tampa Bay right-hander Tyler Glasnow.
Bundy could not dodge the same fate with Tommy Pham’s walk to open the fourth. Ji-Man Choi followed with a line-drive double into right field on an elevated changeup for the Rays’ first hit, and Díaz got them on the board with a sacrifice fly.
A strong changeup was enough for Bundy to record the inning’s second out with a strikeout of Brandon Lowe (Maryland), but Avisail Garcia sent Bundy’s next pitch, an 81 mph slider that found too much of the strike zone, out to center field for a go-ahead two-run home run. Through 17 1/3 innings, Bundy has allowed seven home runs after allowing a major league-high 41 in 2018.
“Just one bad pitch,” Bundy said. “Two bases open there with one out. I was trying to throw a slider a little bit off to get a weak contact or a chase. It was just a bad pitch overall and two runs on the board, plus they got the sac fly run, so just a bad inning. Right there, I’ve got to hold the fort down a little bit better with a two-run lead.”
Bundy retired four of the next five batters, including three on strikeouts in the fifth, to post perhaps his best line of the season with only three runs and three hits allowed across five innings. But the difference in his stats when opponents get another go at him remains troubling.
Bundy held the Rays hitless in eight at-bats with a walk the first time through the order; in his four starts, opponents are batting .094 against him in their first plate appearance of the game. But even a modest 2-for-7 line the second time through the order Tuesday left Bundy having allowed a .393 batting average in such situations.
“He did well the second time through the order today,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I think he’s having kind of a bad luck pitch right now that’s cost him a little bit. But I thought he threw the ball really, really well. He really made two bad pitches that were two balls that were hit hard. But he gave us five good innings. We just didn’t score enough.”
In the first three innings of his starts, Bundy has a 2.25 ERA. Tuesday’s rough fourth inning meant he has allowed multiple runs in the fourth inning of three of his four starts, posting a 21.60 ERA in the frame.
“He’s grinding,” Hyde said. “I like the way he’s throwing the ball. He gave us a chance to win tonight.”
The Orioles wasted little time ending Glasnow’s run of 16 consecutive scoreless innings, the third-longest active streak in baseball entering play Tuesday.
Trey Mancini continued his hot hitting with a single to right in the first inning, and Dwight Smith Jr. followed with one of his own. After Renato Núñez was retired on an infield popup, Rio Ruiz drove in Mancini with another single, marking the first time Glasnow had allowed a run since the first inning of his March 30 start against the Houston Astros.
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Baltimore doubled its lead in the third after Smith reached on an infield single overturned on review, stole second and came home on Núñez’s double to third base off Díaz’s glove.
Jesús Sucre’s one-out single in the fourth gave the Orioles seven hits from the first 17 batters they sent to the plate against Glasnow. But beginning with a double play by Cedric Mullins on which Glasnow ducked under half of Mullins’ broken bat, Glasnow ended his seven-inning outing retiring 10 straight Orioles.
He generated mostly soft contact in doing so, with a flyout by Sucre in the seventh the only ball with an exit velocity of greater than 90 mph in that span, per Statcast data.
“I think we worked some good ABs off him early and we just didn’t score enough, and he fell into a rhythm,” Hyde said. “He’s got a plus-plus fastball and a plus-curveball and he’s 6-8 and he’s just really tough to hit. Those type of upper-echelon arms, you try to get to them early. We got a couple runs off him, we were hoping we’d get a couple more, but it didn’t happen.”
Rays relievers Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo combined to set down the final six Baltimore batters as 16 straight Orioles were retired to end the game. Tampa Bay added another run on a single by Garcia off Miguel Castro in the eighth.
Davis has stomach bug
First baseman Chris Davis, scratched from Tuesday’s lineup, is suffering from a stomach bug, Hyde said.
Davis was set to bat seventh before he began to feel nauseated during batting practice. Davis is batting .089 after record streaks for at-bats and plate appearances without a hit, but he hit his first home run of the season Monday against the Boston Red Sox.