MINNEAPOLIS — Left-handed reliever Paul Fry hasn’t been with the Orioles long, but his midseason bullpen audition has gone well thus far.
Fry entered a six-run game in the fourth inning in relief of starter Dylan Bundy and recorded the best outing of his three major league relief appearances.
He retired all seven batters he faced — including four strikeouts.
“Paulie was impressive,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Fry. “Pitching looks easy when you locate a fastball and spin a ball for a strike anytime in the count, but it’s not that easy. But he was in a really good place today. All of their switch-hitters you want to turn around with the exception of [one]. … But it’s a really good lineup for a left-handed pitcher who’s on top of his game.”
Fry earned a call-up last week after posting a 3.19 ERA in 28 games between Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie, holding opponents to a .209 batting average while averaging 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
Facing a Twins lineup that included five left-handed hitters and two switch-hitters, Fry also retired all four left-handed hitters he faced. Left-handed hitters are 0-for-7 against him.
“I like to say that I can get righties out just as good as lefties,” Fry said. “I don’t want to be a guy comes in just for lefties. I want to be a guy who can finish the inning and go multiple innings if I have to.”
Fry’s slider was particularly effective, both as a swing-and-miss pitch and to get ahead in the count. Three of Fry’s four strikeouts came on his slider, all swinging, and he threw the slider for a strike 11 of 12 times.
He hasn’t allowed a run in three outings spanning 4 1/3 innings, allowing just two hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
“I think I’m in a groove right now and I’m just going to keep doing what I do and hopefully good things will come,” Fry said. “[On Friday], I was getting ahead, getting ahead and commanding the strike zone and throwing my slider.”
The Orioles bullpen accounted for 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Mike Wright Jr. retired four of the six batters he faced in 1 1/3 innings, his fourth scoreless outing over 8 2/3 innings, and Mychal Givens pitched a perfect eighth.
“Very quietly Mike Wright had been throwing the ball real well for a long period of time,” Showalter said. “He got his ERA, it’s really working its way down. And a lot of the peripherals are getting better. Mychal hadn’t been out there in [six] days. We had to get him out there. Heck, Mike Wright hadn’t been out there in [nine] days.”