Orioles manager Brandon Hyde bumped back Dylan Bundy in the rotation to provide a little extra rest as the season moved into the third week of September. A sound plan, except that Bundy threw 31 pitches tonight in the first inning and 20 more in the second.
A heavy load threatening to cancel out the benefits of a slightly fresher arm.
Bundy pushed through five innings while tying his career high with five walks, the bats produced five doubles and two home runs in the first four innings and the Orioles appeared on the verge of surviving another rocky performance from the bullpen.
It imploded in the ninth. In grand fashion.
Randal Grichuk homered off Miguel Castro with the bases loaded and two outs and the Blue Jays produced a stunning 11-10 win over the Orioles before an announced crowd of 9,066 at Camden Yards.
Jonathan Villar hit his 23rd home run in the fourth and Anthony Santander delivered his 19th later in the inning, but the bullpen was responsible for nine runs and the Orioles blew a 7-1 lead while falling to 49-103.
The Orioles rallied against Derek Law in the bottom of the ninth while Aaron Brooks began to warm, with Austin Hays reaching on a bunt single and Mark Trumbo walking. Pedro Severino flied to the left field track - he thought he had a walk-off - but DJ Stewart doubled off the right field fence to cut the lead to 11-10 and put two runners in scoring position.
Shawn Armstrong surrendered a three-run shot to Teoscar Hernández in the seventh that reduced the lead to 7-5. The Orioles scored in the bottom half on Stewart’s sacrifice fly and Mychal Givens retired the side in order in the eighth after surrendering homers in back-to-back appearances.
Mancini’s sacrifice fly increased the lead to 9-5, but Castro, who hadn’t allowed a run in his last 10 outings and 13 of 14, filled the bases on a couple of walks and a bloop single. Cavan Biggio dropped an RBI single into right field and Grichuk hit his sixth home run against the Orioles this season.
Four innings is a lot of ground for the Orioles’ bullpen to cover. Bundy’s laborious first and second set up the challenge.
Hunter Harvey didn’t pitch again tonight. He’s been used once since Sept. 2, throwing an inning on Friday. Hyde said “everything’s OK” when asked about him earlier in the day.
Everything went wrong.
Mancini crossed the plate on Santander’s homer, which also knocked Clay Buchholz out of the game. Villar and Mancini are the first set of Orioles teammates to score 100 runs in the same season since Chris Davis and Manny Machado in 2015. It’s happened 11 times in club history.
Santander, Rio Ruiz and Hays doubled with two outs in the bottom of the first to give Bundy a 2-0 lead. The inning started with left fielder Derek Fisher making a leaping catch at the fence to rob Villar of a home run.
Revenge would come in the fourth inning with Villar drilling an 88.5 mph fastball from Buchholz over the right field fence. Statcast recorded Santander’s shot at 418 feet to the back section of seats in right.
Ruiz is 9-for-31 with a two doubles, a triple and a home run in his last nine games. He was slashing .278/.366/.611 with three home runs this month before facing Buchholz tonight.
Seems like a different hitter since returning from the minors.
“A little more confidence, a little more aggressive with his swings,” Hyde said. “Starting to see a little more power. I think he seems more comfortable in a major league batter’s box and when he’s getting a pitch to drive he’s putting a really good swing on it. Swinging the bat confidently the last few weeks.”
Mancini has been a beast throughout the season. He leads the Orioles with 34 doubles and 34 home runs and he could be responsible for the seventh 35/35 season in club history.
Rafael Palmeiro did it in 1996 and 1998, Brady Anderson in 1996, Albert Belle in 1999, Davis in 2013 and Machado in 2016.
Stewart and Villar singled in the second inning and they scored on Mancini’s double for a 4-1 lead.
The Orioles had five doubles by the third inning, with Hays delivering his second. Mancini singled in between the Villar and Santander homers.
Bundy gave up a single to Biggio and walked two batters to load the bases in the first. He started to head toward the dugout after throwing a 1-2 slider to Hernandez, but plate umpire Alfonso Marquez ruled that it was low. Hernández worked the count full and swung through a 91 mph fastball.
Two more walks hurt Bundy in the second. Bo Bichette dumped a single into left field with one out to reduce the lead to 2-1.
Hernández grounded into a double play to end the third, with Bundy throwing only 11 pitches.
A leadoff walk to Rowdy Tellez in the fourth increased Bundy’s total to five, equaling his season high in his first start on March 31 in New York. It’s the third time in his career that he’s walked five.
Bundy struck out the next five batters before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled and McGuire doubled with two outs in the fifth. Tanner Scott warmed in the bullpen as Bundy’s 105th pitch produced a called third strike on Hernández.
One run allowed with five hits, five walks, eight strikeouts and a wild pitch. An unusual line that accomplished the ultimate goal.
Scott replaced Bundy in the sixth and allowed three hits, including Bichette’s RBI single. Both of his outs came via the strikeout.
Armstrong got the final out in the inning, but a single and walk preceded Hernández’s shot into the bullpen. Ryan Eades retired the next two batters on ground balls, but a walk and single forced Paul Fry into the game.
Biggio flied to center field, and the Orioles increased the lead to 8-5 in the bottom half on Stewart’s sacrifice fly after Hays reached on an error and Dwight Smith Jr. on an infield hit.
Villar led off the eighth with a double, stole third base with no outs - that’s how he rolls - and scored on Mancini’s fly ball.
The Orioles appeared to be safe, as well.
It wasn’t OK.
Update: Hyde said the club decided this afternoon to shut down Harvey for the rest of the month and get him ready for spring training.
Harvey has thrown 82 innings, including 6 1/3 with the Orioles, his highest total since 2014 at Single-A Delmarva. The biceps soreness is lingering. The Orioles aren’t going to risk another injury.
“Hunter Harvey we’re going to shut down for the rest of the year,” Hyde said. “Decided that before the game. We felt like he’s thrown enough innings this year and just not quite rebounding from a little bit of soreness that he had and we figure that we’ll get him ready for next spring training. Really happy with the year he’s had and we want to end it healthy. So Hunter is going to be with us but I won’t pitch him for the rest of the year.”
Asked whether Harvey was disappointed, Hyde said, “I think he totally understands.”
“We just feel he’s thrown enough,” Hyde said. “We feel like we’re really happy with the year he’s had. Let him take the offseason and get ready for spring training. Eleven games to go or something like that and didn’t feel like it was necessary to have him pitch anymore.”
The Orioles haven’t scheduled any tests for Harvey.
“He’s thrown more this year than he has in a long, long time and has never thrown this late in the year,” Hyde said. “We just want to keep him healthy and so we decided this afternoon to shut him down the rest of the year.”
The Blue Jays couldn’t be shut down in the late innings.
“We were trying to piece it together,” Hyde said. “Givens went out and faced the middle of the order in the eighth and he did a nice job and Miguel Castro has been throwing the ball great the past couple months and just had a tough night.”
Orioles pitching walked nine batters to hurt the cause.
“Walks come back to kill you when you have a lead,” Hyde said. “You want to make sure you pound the strike zone. I’ve lined him up with primarily right-handed hitters the past couple of months and I wanted to see what he could do and it just didn’t happen tonight.”
Hyde on loss: “I love the way we were playing early. I thought we swung the bat great. We were running the bases well early. Dylan Bundy had a couple of tough innings early, but bounced back to give us five good innings and left with a nice lead. Grinded through that fifth inning.
“Tanner Scott came out of the bullpen and was throwing strikes. I’ll take that any day of the week, throwing 97 with good sliders, got hit a little bit. I think that’s a positive, coming in and throwing strikes there. Army had a tough time. Eades was OK. Fry did a nice job getting a left-hander out, Givens faced the middle of the order, and we have a four-run lead in the ninth and can’t get it done.”
Hyde on home runs off 3-1 pitches: “You saw the replay. It looked like he was trying to locate a fastball out on the plate to Grichuk. It just ran down and in, where I’ve seen him do that before. I think that’s the story of this year from the standpoint of our pitching. When we’re working ahead, and we talked about it a few days ago, when our guys are aggressive and work ahead in the strike zone early, then we have success. When we fall behind and when we have traffic and we have 3-1 counts, we don’t pitch very well.
“That’s something going forward, that we’re going to have guys in here that will be able to do that, but we’re just not there yet. Some guys are developing. Some guys are learning the hard way, but you can’t pitch behind in the count in the big leagues.”
Hyde on having right guys up in ninth: “I thought Sevy hit that ball out before that. I thought that was a homer. The right two guys up. It didn’t happen. I love having those two guys up in that situation, and both have been swinging the ball really well, but we just didn’t score there.”
Bundy on how to classify start: “Weird. It was a weird outing. Just no command really the first three innings. Just missing a little bit off, missing a little bit over the plate and they’d foul it off. Just wasn’t quite able to get those pitches that I needed to get to get the guys out earlier in the count and prolonged the at-bat.”
Bundy on offense pounding ball: “Yeah, that’s great. It makes it a little bit easier to attack guys and that’s what you think you’d want to do. But just wasn’t able to get a couple off-speed pitches over the plate and that’s what led to the walks.”
Bundy on wiggling out of jams: “You just really try to bear down and limit damage. If you give up one that’s fine. Especially after the offense scores a few runs for you, you want to get them back in the dugout and let them hit again.”
Castro on what was different tonight: “There are good days and bad days. Unfortunately today was a bad day for me. I think it was just a pitch that cost me the game.
“I felt confident. Unfortunately it was just a pitch. That was all.”