Bundy’s quality start and early runs produce 5-3 win (updated)

Andrew Cashner underwent an MRI on his left knee, is expected to receive a cortisone injection and might not be ready to make his next start. Alex Cobb has a cut on his right middle finger that needs more time to heal, perhaps pushing him back to next weekend in the Bronx. Rookies Josh Rogers and David Hess have been moved to the bullpen and could back up rookie starters Luis Ortiz and Yefry Ramírez over the next two nights.

The Orioles really needed Dylan Bundy to shake his slump tonight, solve whatever caused his 8.29 ERA in the second half and become a rock in a rotation that’s crumbling around them.

Bundy-Determined-White-Sidebar.jpgStephen Piscotty homered in the second inning, the 38th surrendered by Bundy this season, but the Orioles raced out to an early lead and never surrendered it in a 5-3 victory over the Athletics before an announced crowd of 11,714 at Camden Yards.

Bundy completed six innings for the first time since Aug. 4 in Texas, also his last quality start until tonight. He allowed two runs and six hits, walked none and struck out eight - seven on his slider.

The Orioles snapped their latest six-game losing streak and are 42-104 overall and 25-46 at home. They went 1-5 against the A’s this season.

Mychal Givens inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth inning, protected a 4-3 lead and worked a scoreless ninth for his seventh save. Jace Peterson, used as a defensive replacement, provided a cushion with an RBI double off Jeurys Familia in the bottom of the eighth that scored Tim Beckham.

Beckham’s two-run single in the first inning provided a rare early lead. The Orioles have been outscored 115-63 in the opening frame this season.

Left-hander Brett Anderson was removed in the fourth after singles by Trey Mancini, Renato Núñez, John Andreoli and Breyvic Valera increased the lead to 4-1. Anderson fielded Andreoli’s bouncer to the third base side of the mound and threw across his body to the plate, missing his target as Mancini scored. Valera lined an RBI single into center field to score Núñez.

The start could have deteriorated for Bundy in the top of the fifth after a one-out double by Marcus Semien and single by Nick Martini cut the lead to 4-2. But Bundy got a called third strike on Josh Phegley and fanned Ramón Laureano on a slider, a big swing-and-miss pitch for him tonight.

Back-to-back singles with two outs in the sixth again put Bundy on the ropes, but he struck out Piscotty on a slider, his 90th pitch of the game, and Miguel Castro entered in the seventh.

Bundy has surrendered a home run in 12 consecutive starts, but he was much better tonight. He walked a career-high five batters in his last start, but didn’t issue a free pass to the A’s. His command was sharper. He seemed more comfortable.

Adam Jones stayed on the bench for the fourth time in six games. Tonight’s omission was glaring because the Orioles were home and the opponent started a left-hander.

Manager Buck Showalter talked to Jones before making out the lineup. They spoke before Jones left last night’s game in the top of the sixth inning. Don’t be led to believe that the only input is coming from the manager’s office.

“Adam and I communicate constantly about it,” Showalter said. “It started in the fourth inning last night. We had a good conversation during the game about the right time for him to come out of the game. There’s a long process, especially someone with his stature and veteran-ness.

“It’s not something that just comes together. Our lineup takes quite a while to get to the end game. We’re trying to satisfy a lot of things right now, but I won’t get into the reasons unless you ask me. We talked about it in detail and this is the way we’ll go tonight. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

The venue is a consideration, with fans wanting to salute Jones before his expected departure as a free agent.

“Of course it is. There are many factors,” Showalter said. “You want to come in tomorrow and sit down when we start factoring A, B and C?

The media line would form at his door. Trust me.

“It’s a lot of factors,” Showalter continued. “I’m not going to get into what Adam said. Be careful about being too frank. I’ve got it. It’s best for all concerned tonight.”

Chris Davis also sat tonight, but that’s not as usual versus a southpaw starter.

The Orioles won despite running into too many outs. Beckham was caught in a rundown to end the first, Joey Rickard was doubled off second on Beckham’s line drive to end the fifth, Valera was cut down easily while trying to stretch a single into a double to end the sixth and Rickard was caught stealing to end the seventh.

The first two A’s reached against Castro in the eighth, and Paul Fry walked Khris Davis and Matt Olson with one out to force in a run. The Orioles’ generosity on the base paths was coming back to bite them.

Givens replaced Fry, struck out Piscotty and retired Semien on a fly ball to right field. Peterson inflated the lead, Givens survived a leadoff walk in the ninth - Valera made a sensational diving catch while racing toward the line to rob Laureano - and the Orioles had their second win in 12 games and fifth in 22.

Showalter on Bundy: “That was fun to watch. He had a really good feel for his breaking ball. He just had the one pitch, I thought that he was trying to go down and away off the plate and he let it leak back enough over the plate. He’d like to have that one back. But I thought he had just a good feel for pitching.

“He made them beat his breaking ball. He had a good breaking ball, he had good command of it and they didn’t seem like they were seeing it or following it. And he had two of them. Really happy for Dylan. I almost took him out after the fifth inning, just to give him a positive note, but he seemed to get a little better as the game went on.”

Showalter on how Bundy had such a good breaking ball: “I explain it by Dylan. Dylan’s got a different moxie, I’m telling you, than a lot of people you come across. Some players are like Forrest Gump and the box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. You know at some point he’s going to get back on the horse.

“This one has been, quite frankly, a little longer than I’ve seen from him. We’ll see what the next one brings. But he always has a purpose and has the want-to and everything. Just really as happy for him as the team getting a W because I know he’s been beating himself up.”

Showalter on whether was best slider he’s seen from Bundy in a while: “Probably, the strike to ball slider. A lot of them have been balls out of his hand and you don’t get those passes. But he had very few ball to strike. That’s the one that kind of gets you in trouble unless you’re behind in the count and they’re going to spit on it. But the strike to ball breaking ball was there for him.”

Showalter on Bundy in the fifth: “He should have just given up one run. We had two plays there we should have made. But I always feel like he’s got conviction, but there’s one thing to hope something happens and another thing that I’m going to make it happen.”

Showalter on Valera catch: “Geez, really good. When you go through periods its seems like it’s been quite a while, a popup in a key situation that goes out of play by this much behind the screen and then the ball leaves the bat and you’re expecting it to be a duck flare - or we call it something else - and he comes out of, I wouldn’t say nowhere ...

“One thing about Breyvic, he’s got a history of hitting. If you look at his track record in the minor leagues in his career, especially right-handed, he’s hit everywhere except the big leagues for the most part. He’s got an impressive minor league background.”

Showalter on Austin Hays’ ankle surgery: “Brian (Ebel) just said everything they thought they were going to do and find, there was no surprises and they expect a full recovery. Kind of good that he got it done now and gets it behind him. It’s just one of those years ... it’s been something with him the whole year. It’s been frustrating.

“Before this year he had one of the best minor league seasons of anybody in baseball, so it’s there. It seems like there have been so many challenges this year. I’m sure he’s feeling this is how you wipe the slate clean in 2018 and get back to where he was in ‘17.”

Showalter on Givens: “Mychal was solid. He was frustrated with the leadoff walk, but one of those pitches could have been called a strike. It was outstanding. Mike, little by little, he’s just trying to build that trust.

“Once again, it’s Forrest Gump and the box of chocolates. You’ve got an idea what you’re going to get. These guys are trying to develop some trust. Paul takes a step or two forward and one back. I’m hoping they grow from this. It’s a process. But they’re both doing roles that they haven’t done in the big leagues, so regardless of your age and experience it has to be gained by that.”

Bundy on difference tonight: “I just thought the conviction with all the pitches. I think that kind of made them a little bit sharper - slider, curveball were all playing to that right-handed lineup they had tonight.”

Bundy on slider: “I was just trying to speed it up a little bit. Sometimes I get on the side of it and not really on top and behind the baseball, so just try to make it a little more tighter tonight and the results were better tonight for sure.”

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