For Tommy Hunter, it was just a matter of doing what he is expected to do.
“Starting pitchers are supposed to go deep into the game, give your team a chance to win,” he said after a strong seven-plus innings as the Orioles beat Minnesota 8-2 to improve to 2-0.
“Just throw strikes and let the defense play. They made some plays all night behind me,” he said after giving up six hits and two unearned runs.
Hunter and Jake Arrieta have combined to pitch 14 innings without allowing an earned run to date and the Twins have hit just .167 (8-for-48) against that duo to start the new season.
The Orioles staked Hunter to a 6-0 lead after four innings.
“When that happens, you just go out and throw first-pitch strikes and try to be aggressive in the zone. Me and (Matt) Wieters had a good gameplan. I shook him off once and he threw down the same pitch. So I threw it. Was pretty funny, got a groundball,” he said.
It was a nice first impression this year for Hunter, who went 3-3 with a 5.06 ERA in 12 games for the club last season after coming in a trade with Texas on July 30.
Tonight, Hunter was good from the start and said he felt pretty good from the game’s first pitch on.
“I did. I threw all my pitches pretty much. Changeup, a couple of those got away, but for the most part I was throwing cutters in and out. My fastball was pretty good, located it down,” he said as he improved to 2-1 in three career starts against Minneosta.
Ronny Paulino made his Orioles debut, going 4-for-4 with a double and three singles as the designated hitter.
“I told (Paulino), ‘It’s that easy, huh?’ ” said Robert Andino, who had a two-run single in the fourth. “Just play the game hard and try to have fun. To get to (Francisco) Liriano early was good momentum for us. Everybody one through nine just had fun today. I am just trying to be a part of something here.”
As for Paulino, who was signed as a minor league free agent in January, it was a productive first night as an Oriole.
“Exciting, especially because we got the win,” he said. “My first game in this city. Making this impression is a good feeling. I know this team can hit. I’ll prepare myself each day, whether I’m playing or not.”
Paulino, who went 5-for-7 last May 1 in his first game with the New York Mets, is now 13-for-17 in his career in his first start with a new team, also counting debuts with Pittsburgh, the New York Mets and Florida.
He became the first O’s hitter since Sam Horn on April 9, 1990 to collect four hits in his O’s debut.
Hunter gets the win as the Orioles got another nice outing from a starting pitcher kind of carrying over some good outings from spring training for the starters.
“If that’s the case, we’re going to keep this rolling. That’s the thing. We are supposed to throw six or seven innings a game. That’s what starters do,” Hunter said.
“This is definitely a good start to the season and hopefully we continue to roll.”