Dylan Bundy starts, but David Hess shines in Orioles' 9-4 Grapefruit League win over Twins

FORT MYERS, FLA. — Dylan Bundy got the start for the Orioles' trip to Fort Myers to face the Minnesota Twins on Monday, but it was rotation candidate David Hess who shined brightest from the mound in a 9-4 Grapefruit League win at Hammond Stadium.

Bundy and Hess each pitched three innings, with a pair of home runs to CJ Cron tamping down what was ultimately a positive day for Bundy before Hess retired each of the nine batters he faced, striking out three to bolster his claim to earn a spot in the Orioles rotation.


Hess, who was in and out of the Orioles rotation last year but finished strong, allowed a run on three hits in two innings during each of his first two starts but faced no such glitches Monday.

Veteran catcher Jesus Sucre has been absent from camp because of problems getting his work visa, but that wasn't his biggest issue.

“Like all of our guys, really aggressive — a ton of first-pitch strikes,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Working ahead in the count all day long, and that’s what Hess was doing. Attacking hitters with his stuff, a really good slider, but really being aggressive in the zone and challenging hitters. A great job by everybody.”


With Jimmy Yacabonis pitching back in Sarasota in a simulated game Monday and fellow rotation candidates Mike Wright, Yefry Ramirez and Josh Rogers all off to strong starts this spring, Hess' start keeps him firmly in that conversation.

Bundy's place with the Orioles is a bit more assured, and the returning Opening Day starter who could earn that assignment again this year is using the spring to try and round out his pitch mix so he doesn't get so reliant on his fastball.

He left a pair of fastballs over the plate to Cron, but otherwise threw his entire arsenal for strikes. He went to his off-speed pitches to get out of a second-and-third, one-out jam in the second inning with a pair of strikeouts.

Two projected Opening Day starters for the Orioles — Trey Mancini and Jonathan Villar — have been limited in some way this spring by pinkie injuries suffered sliding into second base.

"Any time you get an extra inning out there get your pitch-count up, and I was able to use my curveball today," Bundy said. "I was pretty pleased with that. I think I threw 3-for-4 for strikes but like I said pitch-wise, my slider was more down today I thought. The only one I left up was to [Jonathan Schoop] and he yanked it foul. Overall, I thought pitch-wise it was better. ...

"That's what I was wanting to do today, flip some curveballs in there and see what the reaction was. I think they took all three for strikes. That's one thing I've got to work on down here, the changeup to righties. Obviously I left one up and they hit a double on it. I've just got to make sure I keep that pitch down."

Said Hyde: “He worked ahead of hitters, and his off-speed stuff was really good. His curveball, slider and changeup, I thought he threw really well. I just thought he misplaced a couple of heaters.”

The big inning

Five of the Orioles’ runs came in the third inning, and four came on one swing — a massive grand slam by first baseman Renato Núñez off reliever Addison Reed.

The Orioles loaded the bases on a single by Richie Martin, an Eric Young Jr. hit-by-pitch, and a walk by Chance Sisco, and Núñez cleared them. It was his first home run of the spring, with three hits in 14 plate appearances entering Monday’s game.

“I feel like I've been having better at-bats,” Núñez said. “That's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to see a couple more pitches. I don't know if you saw my first at-bat today. I swung at the first pitch. The second at-bat, I kind of took my time, saw a couple of pitches. I think that's what it is. We haven't played for four months. It takes some time sometimes."

The next batter, Rio Ruiz, walked, stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring thanks to a sacrifice fly by the debuting Hanser Alberto.

Outfielder Anthony Santander continued his hot spring with a double in the seventh inning, and scored on a wild pitch. Ruiz and Cedric Mullins had a double and a steal apiece.

Catcher Martin Cervenka padded the lead late with a three-run home run in the ninth inning, his first of the spring.


Osich debuts

Left-hander Josh Osich, claimed off waivers Feb. 19 from the San Francisco Giants, retired all three batters he faced in a clean seventh inning in his Orioles debut.

“I’ve seen that — it’s a mid-90s left-hander who can get up there even more than that, with a good slider as well,” Hyde said. “He attacked hitters. The thing with ‘O’ is when he works ahead, he’s really hard to hit. he did that today to three batters. That’s a good start for him.”

From Bundy's final two outs through Hess and Osich and on to Miguel Castro, the Orioles pitchers retired 17 batters in a row before handing off to Dillon Tate in the ninth inning. Tate made it 18 straight before allowing a solo home run to Jordany Valdespin.

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