The All-Star break enabled the Orioles to enter tonight’s game with a rested bullpen. They reached a point where it appeared that they might need every reliever - and at least one position player.
Dylan Bundy lasted only one inning and allowed a season-high seven runs and every Rays batter collected a hit by the second in a 16-4 victory over the Orioles before an announced crowd of 22,422 at Camden Yards.
Eleven batters came to the plate in the first, with the Rays squeezing 37 pitches out of Bundy, and the Orioles fell to 27-63. They’ll try to quickly regroup before Saturday’s doubleheader.
Tonight marks the third time that the Orioles have surrendered 16 runs. The 20 hits are a season high.
Stevie Wilkerson made his first career pitching appearance in the ninth and retired the side in order on three fly balls. He threw 10 pitches, seven for strikes, while becoming the fourth position player to take the mound this season following Jesús Sucre, Hanser Alberto and Chris Davis. It’s happened 13 times in club history.
Wilkerson also is the 31st Oriole to pitch this season, breaking the club record of 30 set last year. He beat Aaron Brooks to it.
Nate Lowe accounted for one of the four doubles off Bundy and he added a two-run shot off Gabriel Ynoa in the second inning for a 9-0 lead. Ynoa, who had been the likely choice to follow Brooks in Game 1, covered 5 1/3 innings and was charged with nine runs (seven earned) and 10 hits.
The last two runs scored after Asher Wojciechowski replaced him in the seventh and the Rays expanded their lead to 16-2 while sending nine batters to the plate. Wojciechowski threw 16 pitches and remains in line to start Tuesday night against the Nationals.
Jonathan Villar had an RBI single off Yonny Chirinos in the third after Rio Ruiz tripled. Renato Núñez hit his 21st home run in the fourth and stroked an RBI double in the ninth, and Davis lined a sacrifice fly to right field, but the deficit was much too large to overcome.
According to STATS, the Rays became the sixth team to score seven or more runs in their first inning following the break and only the second in the last 30 years after the 2011 Blue Jays.
The seven runs are a Tampa Bay record in a road game.
Bundy retired leadoff hitter Austin Meadows on a ground ball, but Tomny Pham homered onto the flag court in right field and the next three batters also reached on Kevin Kiermaier’s double, Yandy Díaz’s RBI single and Lowe’s double.
Avisaíl García struck out, but Díaz scored on a wild pitch and Lowe scored on Joey Wendle’s single. Wendle stole second and scored on Travis d’Arnaud’s single, Willy Adames followed with a run-scoring double and he came home on Meadows’ double.
The balk was just window dressing.
The inning lasted 18 minutes. Bundy’s previous season high in runs was six spread over five innings April 11 against the Athletics.
The Orioles had outscored opponents 60-53 in the first inning, their only advantage, before tonight’s mess.
Villar’s fielding error in the fourth led to an unearned run. It also marked the 17th time this season that the Orioles allowed at least 10 runs in a game.
The club record is 29 in 2000, according to STATS. The Major League record is 56 by the 1894 Washington Senators and the modern era record (since 1900) is 45 by the 1930 Philadelphia Phillies.
It got worse in the sixth. Kiermaier reached on a bloop single to right field, Trey Mancini threw behind him - tempted by the wide turn - and Kiermaier raced to second base as Davis spiked the ball while attempting to nab him. Villar fielded Díaz’s grounder and fired the ball past Ruiz, enabling Kiermaier to score for an 11-2 lead.
Villar has committed 15 errors this season and he was responsible for the two unearned runs off Ynoa.
Note: DJ Stewart received only two at-bats tonight with Triple-A Norfolk while continuing his rehab assignment and was removed for a pinch-hitter.
A fan attending the game tweeted that Stewart fell to the ground after fouling off a pitch and had to be helped off the field.