Before tonight, Brian Matusz had stranded all 26 inherited runners when coming out of the bullpen. The streak ended tonight when Alex Gordon homered off him with a man on in the seventh to tie the game 3-3.
Adam Jones, who drew his sixth walk of the year to lead off the winning rally, said it was another night where the Orioles won as a team. On a rare night when Matusz saw his first inherited runner score, his teammates picked him up.
“It happens, nobody is perfect here,” Jones said. “Tommy (Hunter) came in and picked up Matusz. We came in as a team and picked up Matusz ourselves. We’re a 25-man team. It doesn’t matter. We all pick up each other. We are resilient and we came back the next inning. With this team, you never know who it is going to be, but it’s going to be somebody.”
The Orioles haven’t had long winning or losing streaks, but they have won seven of 10 series and are now 8-3 in series-opening games.
“If you win series, I think you will be in a pretty good situation at the end of the season,” Jones said.
Wieters talked about the O’s regaining the lead after the Royals had tied it in the seventh.
“There are always some turning points in games,” he said. “If you can score on a team after they scored on you, it can give you the momentum back. You just have to stay focused.”
Hunter got the win with a scoreless 1 1/3 innings. He has now put together a run of eight consecutive scoreless outings covering 12 1/3 innings. His fastball has shown new life in the bullpen, but Wieters said it has been about more than that with Hunter.
“He’s locating better, but I think most importantly, he’s been able to mix in some off-speed stuff and mix it in when there is a fastball count,” Wieters said. “Everybody knows Tommy has a good fastball. When he can mix in his curve, his cutter and he threw a good change today to (Eric) Hosmer, That makes his fastball that much better.”
Wei-Yin Chen was charged with two runs and nine hits over 6 1/3 innings and left when the rain delay hit in the top of the seventh.
“The double plays were a huge part of the game today,” Chen said through his translator. “I’m so proud of the guys behind me, there were some amazing plays. Wieters, too, he put down the finger and I hit the mitt. I wanted to go as deep as possible. If it hadn’t rained, I might have been able to go real deep in the game tonight.”
As for Hunter, he didn’t have an explanation for his current scoreless streak, saying nothing had changed for him since the season started, he was just going after hitters as he always has tried to do.
He did have praise for his team, which pulled out another close game in the final innings.
“This team grinds it out,” Hunter said. “They are fun to watch. No one should ever leave the stadium early, I’ll tell you that much. These guys play hard every day, busting it. This team grinds each at bat.”
Since July 29, 2012, the Orioles have the best record in baseball at 61-33 (.649) and the best home record in baseball at 31-13 (.705).