Nick Hundley: “I want to be in the box in those situations”

When Nick Hundley was due up tonight with a man on second and one out in the last of the 10th, the Orioles could have gone to a pinch-hitter. But manager Buck Showalter stayed with Hundley and he delivered an RBI single to give the Orioles a 3-2 win over the Yankees.

Hundley said he wasn’t thinking he would be pinch-hit for in that spot.

“I expect to hit in those situations all the time,” he said. “I don’t think about that stuff. Those decisions are beyond my control. I want to be in the box in those situations. I feel like I thrive in those situations. I welcome them.”

hundley-celebrates-black-sidebar.jpgHundley’s offense has taken a turn for the better. He went 2-for-4 tonight and is batting .375 with two homers and six RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.

“Just settling in. Getting back to what I can do well and who I am,” he said. “Talked to Pres (hitting coach Jim Presley) a bunch about what makes me successful and what doesn’t. We hashed it out a little bit. I feel real comfortable in the box and, you know, fortunately the results are coming.”

For O’s starter Miguel Gonzalez tonight, the fourth inning was pivotal. He was already behind 2-0 and New York had runners on second and third with one out, but he pitched out of that jam.

“He was kind of on the ropes a little bit and did a great job popping up (Yangervis) Solarte and getting Kelly Johnson to fly out, who had homered earlier,” Hundley said. “So when he settled in after that, it got him right back on track.

“His split tonight was outstanding. Got a couple of homers hit off fastballs in the middle of the plate. He used both sides of the plate really effectively.

“To go eight, he gave us an unbelievable chance to win. (Hiroki) Kuroda threw great, their A bullpen was in the game and we got it done.”

The Orioles are now 9-3 on the year in extra-inning games and 6-2 at home.

“I think it speaks to the quality of our bullpen,” Hundley said. “The depth of our bullpen. T.J. McFarland comes in and does a great job going through the top of their order, tough outs, 1-2-3. With the offense we have and staunch bullpen, it lends itself to be successful either late in the game or in extra innings.”

After pitching to an ERA of 6.13 in his first three starts back from a stint on the disabled list, Gonzalez has now worked to an ERA of 1.69 over his past two starts. He has gone eight innings - a career-high - in back-to-back starts against the Red Sox and Yankees, allowing just three earned runs.

What has made the difference these last two outings?

“Command and my timing was there,” Gonzalez said. “Just working really hard with Dave (Wallace) and Dom (Chiti) in the bullpen and it’s paying off pretty well. The fourth inning was big. A huge inning right there.”

Gonzalez retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced tonight and now has an ERA of 3.81 in nine career starts against New York.

“It was fun to be out there and throw strikes,” he said. “Not walking anyone was important. I was excited watching the game in the 10th inning. Manny (Machado) with that double and then Hundley not trying to do too much. He did a great job catching as well.”

McFarland pitched a 1-2-3 top of the 10th on just nine pitches to get the win. He is now 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA for the season.

“I felt good,” he said. “Just let the defense get three outs for me. We all knew our offense would prevail at the end and we’re going to enjoy this win. Soon as Machado got that double, we kind of knew it was going to happen, this was our inning.”

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