FORT MYERS, Fla. - Dylan Bundy didn’t approach today’s start in a passive state. He wasn’t going to nibble. Bundy attacked the strike zone and challenged the Twins to make solid contact.
C.J. Cron did it twice with his first-pitch opposite-field homer with two outs in the first inning and loud two-run shot in the third. The only runs surrendered by Bundy in three innings.
In his second spring appearance and working on three days’ rest, Bundy allowed five hits, walked none and struck out three batters. He threw 49 pitches and 36 were strikes.
Some were better than others.
Brent Rooker struck out on three straight off-speed pitches to close out the second inning. Alex Kirilloff singled and Adam Rosales doubled with one out, but Bundy struck out Luke Raley and Rooker to escape the jam.
Mitch Garver struck out looking to end the first after Cron’s home run to right field.
Cron followed Jonathan Schoop’s one-out bloop single into center field in the third with a thunderous shot to reduce the lead to 5-3. Just more of the same from Cron, who’s 4-for-13 with a double and three home runs lifetime against Bundy in the regular season.
Bundy threw 13 of 16 pitches for strikes in the first and 12 of 15 in the second. Eleven of his 18 pitches in the third were strikes.
“I kind of noticed that in the second or third inning,” he said. “For the most part I didn’t get past the two-ball count except for (Tyler) Austin, the last batter there, three ball count.
“Overall pitch-wise, I thought all of my pitches were better today. Now, the location of it, the fastballs weren’t so good to Cron in both at-bats. Just trying to get a fastball down and away for a strike and it was more thigh-high than it was down in the zone. And then trying to go up and in on him and it wasn’t up or in.”
Bundy’s debut against the Phillies in Clearwater lasted two innings and he allowed one run and four hits. He threw 37 pitches, 24 for strikes.
Today offered the chance for more length and broader work on his secondary stuff.
“Anytime you get an extra inning out there, get your pitch count up and I was able to use my curveball today and I was pretty pleased with it. I think I threw three of four for strikes,” he said.
“My slider was more down today, I thought, and the only one I left up was to Schoopy and he yanked it foul. Overall I thought pitch-wise it was better. Left the changeup up for a double.
“That’s what I wanted to do today was just flip some curveballs in there and see what the reaction was and I think they took all three for strikes. That’s one thing I’ve got to work on down here is the changeup to righties. I left one up there and he hit a double. Just got to make sure I keep that pitch down.”
Renato Núñez destroyed an Addison Reed fastball with the bases loaded in the third inning to give the Orioles a 4-1 lead. The ball was up and over the plate and Núñez tattooed it to left-center field, clearing the boardwalk area in the process.
Núñez was 3-for-14 with an RBI and three strikeouts before the at-bat and grounded into a double play to end the first inning after Cedric Mullins’ leadoff walk and stolen base and the first of Chance Sisco’s two walks.
David Hess has retired all six batters he’s faced. He’ll return for the bottom of the sixth.
Update: Anthony Santander came off the bench and doubled in the seventh inning, and he scored on a wild pitch to give the Orioles a 6-3 lead. He was denied an RBI with Mullins thrown out at the plate.
Update II: Martin Cervenka hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning to extend the O’s lead to 9-3.