With bullpen success, Hunter looking ahead only and pushing for more

Seeing Tommy Hunter now thriving in a bullpen role, it is hard to remember he used to be a starting pitcher for this team. But he was in the club’s season opening rotation last year and made a start as late as Aug. 22.

But he went 3-0 with an ERA of 0.71 out of the bullpen last September and he has carried that success into this year.

His latest impressive outing was last night. He gave up a run against the Angels, but he also struck out Albert Pujols with one out and the bases loaded and then got Mark Trumbo to ground out, going through the middle of the Angels order while holding onto a one-run lead in his third outing in four days.

Over his last 21 games since April 12, Hunter is 3-0 with one save and an ERA of 1.44.

It’s an impressive stretch for the hard-throwing right-hander, but he is not enjoying that success as much as focusing on pushing himself to have more of it moving forward.

“It’s a good run, but this game is a lot of what you’ve done today,” he said after last night’s win. “This game catches up to you quick, especially if you are comfortable with what you’ve done for the last 15 games.

“You have to go out there tomorrow and work and I’m going to try to keep that mindset as long as I can and hopefully not give up any more runs.”

Hunter has dominated right-handed batters this year, as he did Pujols last night. Right-handed hitters are batting just .138 (9-for-65) against him with no extra-base hits. He has held right-handed batters to a .138 slugging percentage and an OPS of .350.

Some others notes on the O’s:

* With Monday’s win, the Orioles tie their season-high at eight games over .500. They are 0-4 each time this year they have played needing a win to go nine games over.

* Chris Davis went hitless last night, going 0-for-3, and he is hitless over his last 16 at-bats. He did not strike out in the game, ending a run nine straight games where he had fanned 17 times. Davis has now gone without a homer or RBI a season-high seven consecutive games.

* Manny Machado went 1-for-4 last night and extended his hitting streak to eight games. He has exactly one hit in each of the past eight games, but he has now gone 10 straight games without a multi-hit game, his longest stretch of the year.

* The Orioles are 13-7 over their last 20 games.

* The win over the Angels improved the O’s record to 10-5 against the American League West. The Orioles are 14-14 against the AL East, 7-5 versus the AL Central and 5-4 versus the National League.

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