OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Baltimore right-hander Tommy Hunter finally has his first win with his new club thanks primarily to an old pitch he’s grown comfortable throwing in key situations.
Hunter worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the second inning, then held on as the Orioles scored four runs in the seventh and one in the ninth to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Monday night.
“The cutter saved me again,” said Hunter, who had been winless in two previous starts for the Orioles after arriving on July 30 as part of a trade from Texas. “It’s like you keep it in your back pocket until you need it. It is something that’s been a big factor in games for the last couple of years, so why not use it.”
Hunter (2-2) allowed two runs over 6 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and one walk. He pitched with runners on base in every inning and gave up 10 hits overall but kept the damage to a minimum.
A reliever with the Rangers, Hunter did his best work after Oakland strung together four straight hits to open the second.
Josh Willingham singled and scored on David DeJesus’ double to left center. Brandon Allen followed with a base hit before Cliff Pennington’s RBI single gave Oakland a 2-1 lead.
Hunter then fell behind in the count to Kurt Suzuki, 3-1, before getting the A’s catcher to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Eric Sogard followed with a fly out to left.
“A lot of guys might cave in there, but that double play ball was probably as big a pitch as there was in the game,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “(Hunter) was the difference. He’s a horse. You can tell why we like him.”
The news got even better for Baltimore when the team announced it has agreed to terms with first-round pick Dylan Bundy on a $6.25 million, five-year contract. Bundy was the fourth overall pick in the draft.
Shortly after the deal was announced, the Orioles broke the game open in Oakland by scoring four times in the seventh.
Robert Andino hit a go-ahead bases-loaded double in the inning while Josh Bell added a two-run single to help the Orioles pick up a rare road victory.
Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds also both homered to help the Orioles begin a 10-game road trip with a victory following a 3-7 homestand.
DeJesus doubled and scored while Brandon Allen matched his career high of three hits for the A’s, who have dropped four straight.
“We got some good at bats against (Hunter) but he seemed to bear down a little more when he felt the threat,” said Allen, who is 6 for 8 since getting called up from the minors Saturday. “They were able to get the big hits and we weren’t.”
The Orioles managed only two hits off Oakland left-hander Gio Gonzalez (9-11) through the first six innings before the outburst in the seventh.
Adam Jones and Vladimir Guerrero both singled before Gonzalez walked Wieters to load the bases. After a strikeout, Andino greeted reliever Fautino De Los Santos with a deep double over the head of center fielder Coco Crisp to drive in Jones and Guerrero.
Bell, batting only .143 coming into the game, followed with a bouncing single up the middle. Wieters and Andino both scored easily to make it 5-2.
It’s only Baltimore’s fourth win in its last 18 games on the road. The Orioles also won for just the second time in 14 games at the Oakland Coliseum since the start of the 2008 season. They did it with Hunter’s pitching and solid defense behind him.
In addition to the double play, Wieters also threw out Jemile Weeks trying to steal in the first inning, the 28th runner the Baltimore catcher has caught this season.
“You have to play defense when I pitch because I’m not going to strike many guys out,” Hunter said. “Those guys went out and made plays tonight.”
Michael Gonzalez pitched 1 1/3 innings and Kevin Gregg worked the ninth.
Oakland, outscored 23-8 while getting swept in a three-game series by Texas over the weekend, lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell a season-low 15 games under .500.
Gonzalez took his fifth straight loss, giving up four runs and four hits while walking three to raise his majors-leading total to 72.
“It’s always frustrating to come out of a game, especially when you leave runners on base,” Gonzalez said. “My luck is turning a little bit and I just want to stay positive.”
Wieters hit a 1-2 pitch from Gonzalez off the green cement facing high above the wall in center field with two outs in the second. The home run was Wieters’ 11th of the season and first since July 17.
Reynolds, who had been mired in a 1-for-28 slump with 14 strikeouts, homered off Trystan Magnuson in the ninth.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)