Part of Dylan Bundy’s mediocre pitching line in Sunday’s series finale against the Minnesota Twins stemmed from an issue that has hampered he and the Orioles throughout the season’s first month. Another outside his control negated what otherwise would’ve been a solid outing.
Bundy allowed four runs in five innings while striking out eight as the Twins swept the Orioles with a 4-1 victory at Target Field, their 12th straight win over Baltimore. Max Kepler continued the theme of the series and the Orioles’ season by sending Bundy’s first pitch, an 89.3 mph fastball, out to left field for a leadoff home run, the 70th surrendered by Baltimore pitchers in 2019. The solo shot followed a highlight video on the Target Field screen that showed many of the 21 home runs the Twins hit against the Orioles in the first five games of their season series.
By homering on Bundy’s 90.8 mph fastball to open the third inning, Byron Buxton gave the Twins 23 home runs against the Orioles, their most in a season against Baltimore. The Twins’ 12 home runs over the weekend marked the most in a three-game series in franchise history, surpassing the 11 they hit against the Orioles last week at Camden Yards.
“They don’t miss pitches over the plate that they’re looking for,” Bundy said. “Center cut fastballs, they don’t miss those very often.”
Kepler followed Buxton’s home run with a soft fly ball to left field, where it fell in front of Dwight Smith Jr. With an 85.4 mph exit velocity and 38-degree launch angle, such balls have a 1 percent chance of being a hit, per Statcast data.
Bundy retired the next two batters before issuing consecutive walks, loading the bases for Marwin Gonzalez. Gonzalez popped up Bundy’s 2-1 fastball into center field, seemingly positioning Bundy to escape, but the ball fell between Smith and center fielder Joey Rickard, who were both playing deep, for a two-run single. The hit had an expected batting average of .020, per Statcast data.
“It was just one of those that was up in the air for a while and our outfielders play deep,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “You know, sometimes you take hits away and sometimes balls fall in front. That was just one where it was in a perfect spot where there were two outfielders playing deep and [shortstop] Richie [Martin] couldn’t get back there enough. Just one of those in a bad spot.”
Bundy said afterward he wasn’t pleased with the pitch.
“I’m not happy at all,” he said. “They scored two more runs. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you execute your pitch, they can still get a hit.”
Bundy finished the inning with a three-pitch strikeout of Mitch Garver, starting a run of five strikeouts in eight batters as he completed his outing with a season-high 19 swinging strikes. He has pitched at least five innings in four straight starts.
“He kind of got stronger as the game went on,” Hyde said. “I feel like he pitches good when he gets a little bit irritated and a little bit upset. And I feel like all the sudden you start seeing some 93s [mph]. I like that about him in that I feel like his stuff ticks in when he gets into tougher situations. I’m happy with the way he battled for five innings.”
Davis homers to end shutout
Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson cruised through 6 2/3 two-hit innings before his 79.8 mph curveball ran into Chris Davis’ barrel in the seventh.
Davis’ solo shot to right-center field ended the shutout and came off his bat at 102.9 mph, going a projected 392 feet, per Statcast data. The home run marked his third since ending his major league-record hitless streak, with each coming on a different type of pitch.
“All that stuff that was going on around him the first couple of weeks, I just feel like he’s getting a little more comfortable,” Hyde said.
In 10 games since recording his first hit of 2019, Davis is slashing .323/.364/.710.
“I feel like I'm putting good at-bats together, but it's not a one-man show,” Davis said. “We've gotta score more runs than the other team and do a better job as an offense of trying to get ourselves back in the game no matter what's going on on the other side of the ball."
Jonathan Villar began the game with a double off Gibson, but he could’ve had a triple if he hadn’t slipped between second and third. He managed to make it back to second safely, but the fall likely cost the Orioles a run.
Stevie Wilkerson, batting second and playing right field with Trey Mancini out of the lineup with a bruised finger suffered Saturday, hit a hard grounder to shortstop, a ball that likely would’ve brought home Villar had he been on third and the infield had been playing back. Smith then smoked a lineout to right field that certainly would’ve been deep enough for a sacrifice fly. Instead, Renato Núñez struck out to end the inning with Villar still at third.
After starting the season with a 7.36 ERA in three starts, Gibson’s seven innings of one-run ball gave him a 2.08 ERA in his past two starts, both against the Orioles.