Hunter brings his best stuff to Bradenton

BRADENTON, Fla. - Where was Tommy Hunter in 1971 and 1979?

The Orioles could have used him in the World Series.

Hunter was in total control tonight against the Pirates, shutting them out on one gift double, walking one and striking out five in six innings. He threw 70 pitches, 48 strikes.

Alex Presley walked to lead off the bottom of the first inning, but Hunter got a 6-3 double play and struck out Andrew McCutchen. Rod Barajas reached in the second inning when first baseman Wilson Betemit misplayed a pop-up and almost tripped over the bag. Neil Walker doubled with two outs in the fourth, but center field Adam Jones normally would have made the catch. He lost the ball, crouched and failed to come up with it.

Hunter retired the last seven batters he faced and 13 of 14 before Jim Johnson replaced him.

In his first Grapefruit League start, Hunter allowed two runs and five hits in five innings against the Blue Jays.

Meanwhile, former Oriole Erik Bedard took a four-hit shutout into the seventh tonight before Matt Wieters led off with his second hit, a double, and scored on Mark Reynolds’ single. Reynolds later scored on Pedro Alvarez’s throwing error.

Bedard had allowed only one hit until two outs in the sixth, when Nolan Reimold, J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis strung together singles. Jones struck out to end the rally.

Bedard was gone after Betemit followed Reynolds’ hit with a single to left field. Jason Grilli replaced him, and Alvarez fielded Ronny Paulino’s grounder and tried to nail a spectator in the first row of seats behind first base.

The Orioles had runners on second and third with no outs, but couldn’t build on their lead.

Markakis, making another start in right field, has singled and walked.

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