BALTIMORE—Dylan Bundy had been the most puzzling of Orioles starters. Entering Saturday night’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays, Bundy was 0-4 with a 6.67 ERA.
Bundy, who hadn’t won a game since last September 13, delivered one of his best starts, pitching 7 1/3 shutout innings as the Orioles beat the Rays, 3-0.
It was the Orioles’ longest start of the season, and their first shutout.
Bundy allowed a single to Brandon Lowe on the game’s first pitch, a double to Avisail Garcia to begin the second and didn’t allow another hit until Martin Perez doubled in the eighth, which ended his night.
After Garcia’s double, Bundy retired the next 10 Rays. In the fifth, Daniel Armstrong walked and Bundy hit Perez with a pitch, but Willy Adames hit into a double play to end the inning.
Bundy then set down eight more Tampa Bay hitters until Perez’s double.
“I just felt like I was throwing all pitches to both sides of the plate on both left- and right-handed hitters,” Bundy said. “Kind of mixing it up on them and keep them guessing.”
The game was played in two hours, 19 minutes, fastest of the season.
“It’s all about rhythm and tempo, especially when you’re going good,” Bundy said. “You want to keep that rolling and just attack the hitters and get quick outs.”
Manager Brandon Hyde, who has watched many short starts in his first six weeks as Orioles manager, got to savor this one.
“That was a major league start,” Hyde said. “That was really enjoyable … no doubt. To have a guy be able to throw off-speed stuff in hitter’s counts, be able to not give in and be able to throw the fastball on the inner part of the plate and then off the inner part of the plate is something I’m begging our guys to do.
“That comes with a lot of things, but Dylan did that tonight. I think you see how it opens up other things when you’re able to elevate above the zone and when you go in you either get in or you get off the plate in, and it just opens up the plate for you. He did it tonight and, hopefully, we’re going to see more of that.”
Catcher Austin Wynns praised Bundy’s start.
“He had all his stuff today,” Wynns said. “We executed all our pitches. We had a great game plan, and when things were scuffling a little bit, we stuck to our game plan and all our guys [were] in position, the right spot. Dilly did a great job, great job. We needed that—big time.
“The tempo of the game was quick. He was on point. We were on the same page. We had no hiccups. It was awesome. That’s what we need, and we need to make that a habit, every day.”
The Orioles scored a run in the first when Dwight Smith Jr. hit into a double play that brought Jonathan Villar home. They scored another in the third when Villar’s forceout scored Stevie Wilkerson.
Smith hit a 429-foot home run to center, leading off the fourth, to give the Orioles their third and final run.
The shutout was preserved by an umpire’s ruling. After Perez’s double, Shawn Armstrong, who replaced Bundy, sailed a throw over Chris Davis after fielding Adames’ roller, and Perez appeared to score.
Instead, home plate umpire Lance Barrett called Adames out for running inside the baseline, and Perez was ordered back to second. Armstrong struck out Lowe to end the inning.
Mychal Givens pitched the ninth for his third save.
Goodbye, Fort Lauderdale Stadium: Ten years ago, the Orioles played their last game in Fort Lauderdale Stadium before moving to Sarasota. The team played there from 1996-2009, and it was a difficult place to hold spring training.
Space was cramped, facilities were outmoded, and night games were impossible because of malfunctioning lights.
The former spring home of the Orioles and New York Yankees as well as neighboring Lockhart Stadium, where football and soccer were played are soon to be demolished, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Plans are for the two stadiums to be replaced by a modern soccer facility. No team had ever seriously considered relocating its spring training operation to Fort Lauderdale.
Minor honors: Right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, the Orioles’ top selection in last year’s draft, and infielder Adam Hall were named the team’s Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Month for April. Both play for the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds.
Rodriguez was 3-0 with an 0.54 ERA in April with 28 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings. Hall, who also won the award last August, batted .354 with a home run, 10 RBIs and 11 stolen bases.