Duelin' Bundy: Righty shows value in rotation

O's starter, who transitioned from 'pen last year, fans 8 in 7 splendid innings for first win

Duelin' Bundy: Righty shows value in rotation

BALTIMORE -- Dylan Bundy admitted he surprised himself some on Wednesday night, as the 24-year-old opened the Orioles' 3-1 win over the Blue Jays by striking out the side.

But anyone who had been watching him in 2016 knew that nights like Wednesday would be possible. And if the Orioles are going to be competitive this year, they're going to need plenty more like it from Bundy, who was magnificent in stifling the Blue Jays on four hits over seven innings.

"This was Dylan for his first seven or eight starts for us. When we brought him in after the All-Star break, it wasn't a whole lot different than what you saw tonight," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's featuring a little different look, a little different shape on some pitches that he didn't last year. Another example of being able to take some of the governors off him."

Bundy, who struck out eight, was a pleasant surprise for the Orioles last year and was moved to the rotation out of need. He went 10-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 36 games (14 starts) overall, providing much optimism about what was to come when he became a full-time starter this season.

"Very impressed," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We had seen him mostly in the past, and not many times at that, coming out of the bullpen. He has a really good breaking ball. He showed that early and then challenged us a little bit more and really did a nice job mixing his pitches up."

Bundy fired first-pitch strikes to the first 13 hitters he faced, using a cutter that's back in his repertoire. The righty, who had Tommy John surgery in 2013, didn't throw it out of the bullpen, and the plan was always for Bundy to bring it back beginning this spring.

"That cutter looked great today, and it's a huge weapon for him," said Orioles closer Zach Britton. "He worked on that in the spring, and you can see the transition. Those bigger hitters in the lineup, in the middle of the order, didn't look too good on some of those pitches he threw, and I think that's going to be big for him going forward."

Britton earns the save

It's also big for the Orioles who, particularly while without Chris Tillman, will rely heavily on young starters Bundy and Kevin Gausman, who have delivered back-to-back solid starts to begin the season.

"Any time after six, I consider that quality and you're doing your job, keeping the team in the game to win," Bundy said. "Tonight, I was able to do my job."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.