The Texas Rangers are trying to hold off the Angels and win the American League West. Tonight, a former Ranger provided Texas a lift.
Tommy Hunter pitched seven shutout innings as the Orioles beat the Angels 8-3 at Camden Yards. Even before Hunter did his postgame interview he had heard from some of the Rangers.
"They texted me," Hunter said. "I looked at my phone and and I just started smiling. I wish those guys the best, hope they make a deep run in the playoffs and don't forget me."
After giving up four runs or more in seven of his eight Orioles starts, Hunter needed a good outing and tonight fit the bill.
"I was just able to throw the fastball tonight and locate it down in the zone," he said. "These guys played defense and they played it really well tonight. Just have to give them credit. (Robert) Andino and J.J. (Hardy) diving for that ball."
Hunter was 2-3 with an ERA of 5.98 with the O's until this outing and pitching down in the zone was a key, Hunter said.
Tommy Hunter discusses his solid outing in the Birds' 8-3 victory over the Angels
"Keeping the ball down," Hunter said. "We went over that after my last start. We thought that was a big necessity to be fixed. I had Wiet (Matt Wieters) back there constantly hitting the ground telling me to keep the ball down, keep the ball down."
Hunter had gone seven innings once before with the Orioles, but it was five starts ago against the Yankees. Tonight he allowed seven hits and threw 109 pitches in getting deep into the game.
"It was long overdue I guess," he said. "It started rough, couldn't find the zone that first at bat. My goal is to go out and throw a complete game every time. I've come up short, but today was a different story."
He had entered with a career ERA of 8.79 in seven previous games with the Angels, but he beat them tonight. It helped his former team and put the Orioles once again in the spoiler's role.
"We like to finish strong, no matter who it is out there. It's not like we play harder against this team or that team. This team is young and we want to go out and play, no matter who it is," Hunter said.