BALTIMORE—Before Friday night’s game, Buck Showalter was asked if Dylan Bundy could remain in the starting rotation for the rest of the season and not exceed the innings limit the manager has in mind.
Showalter said that was possible, and after watching Bundy achieve his first major league win as a starter on Friday night, he’s no doubt eager to see more out of Bundy.
In five innings, Bundy allowed an unearned run on five hits as the Orioles beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1 before 39,358 at Oriole Park.
The Orioles, who lost four straight before winning on Thursday afternoon in New York, scored their most runs in exactly two weeks, and had their first three-run inning since July 5.
Bundy (3-2), who started for the first time on Sunday and allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings at Tampa Bay, pitched well against the Indians.
He gave up five hits in five innings and struck out five.
“That's a real good offensive team over there, so that makes it even more impressive. He was good. He pitched as much as threw,” Showalter said. “He felt good at the end. Started to give me that ‘I can keep going’ look.
Shortly after Showalter indicated his confidence in Bundy as a starter, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette emphasized that the team needed additional starting pitching. Even though the market was thin, perhaps the thinnest Duquette has seen, the Orioles would continue to look for reinforcements.
An effective Bundy would be a huge help. He’s fine with being a starter the rest of the season.
“I mean, yeah, it could be, if he said so. You know, that’s not up to me. I’m just going to keep pitching whenever I’m supposed to, and that can all work itself out at the end of the year,” Bundy said.
Help may be coming in a few days when Darren O’Day, who hasn’t pitched since June 1 due to a strained right hamstring, returns. He allowed a hit and struck out two in his rehab start at Bowie.
If the Orioles decide O’Day doesn’t need a second rehab assignment, he could return on Sunday or Monday, and that would give the bullpen a big boost.
Bundy had just one perfect inning, the fourth, and didn’t walk a batter.
There was one difficult inning, the second when Tyler Naquin doubled with one out. Naquin was held at third when Juan Uribe singled, but Bundy retired Abraham Almonte on a foul pop to third and Chris Gimenez on a fly to center.
In the fifth, with Bundy having thrown 72 pitches through four, Almonte led off with a double and moved to third on a passed ball by Caleb Joseph.
Almonte tried to score on Gimenez’s grounder to short, but headed back towards third when J.J. Hardy threw home. Almonte beat the throw back to third and scored when Carlos Santana hit into a double play. It was the only run for Cleveland (56-39).
“He was really going to pitch effectively tonight. Pitch is the key word. He knew it was going to be a challenge with Cleveland, like it will be tomorrow and the next night for anybody who faces them. But I think in this case, no. I think he was so locked in to what his job description was tonight. I think the first pitch of the game was a changeup. That kind of set the tone. Caleb obviously did a nice job with him,” Showalter said.
The Orioles (55-40) got Adam Jones back after he was down for a day with back spasms. Before the game, Joey Rickard was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised ligament in his right thumb.
Mark Trumbo hit a three-run homer in the first, his 29th, which leads the major leagues, off Trevor Bauer (7-4) in the first to take a 3-0 lead.
Jones’ second-inning sacrifice fly and Manny Machado’s 19th home run in the third, made it 5-0.
“We came up and got a couple runners on base and Trumbo came up and did what he does best. It was good to get that out the way quick in the first inning. We have been struggling with runners in scoring position lately on the road trip so to come out here and do it right away was pretty great,” Machado said.
Odrisamer Despaigne pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings, and came within a pitch of his first major league save, but after he walked Almonte, Zach Britton came in to retire Erik Gonzalez for his 31st save.
NOTES: Juan Uribe was hit in the head by a pitch from Despaigne in the seventh inning and suffered a bruise. … Josh Tomlin (10-2, 3.34) faces Kevin Gausman (1-7, 4.05) on Saturday.