BALTIMORE — A road trip that started out with so much promise has slowly spiraled downward into disarray and frustration, mirroring the plot of National Lampoon’s Vacation but without the laughs.
After going 4-2 and winning the first two series of this 12-game trek to the East Coast, the Mariners have dropped the last two series after being shut down on Tuesday night by right-hander Dylan Bundy in a 4-0 shutout to the Orioles.
On his 116th pitch of the game — a biting 84 mph slider — Bundy struck out Danny Valencia for the fourth time and punched his career-high 12th strikeout and notched the first complete game and shutout of his career.
“Bundy threw the ball outstanding,” M’s manager Scott Servais said. “He had good stuff, and he executed his game plan against us. We just got nothing going offensively. We’ve talked often on this road trip that we have to hit and score runs, and we just haven’t done that the last three or four days for the most part. We really got nothing going tonight at all. Attribute a lot of that to him.”
Seattle has lost four games in a row to fall under .500 at 66-67. The Mariners wrap up the four-city trip on Wednesday. A win would give them a road-trip split at 6-6, which would be acceptable — but disappointing, considering the start.
“We can’t do anything about what happened today,” designated hitter Nelson Cruz said. “It’s over. It’s in the past. Shake it off, and hopefully tomorrow is a better day. We’ve bounced back before. There’s no reason why we can’t do it. We have a good offensive team. Sometimes when you face a good pitcher, the offense doesn’t work.”
And it wasn’t working against Bundy.
It was the 11th time this season the Mariners have failed to score in a game. Even worse, they mustered all of one hit and it traveled approximately 15 feet.
That hit was Kyle Seager’s bunt single against the shift to the left side of the infield.
“Nobody wants to get no-hit,” Seager said. “But it was the fourth inning and we were just trying to win the game. I don’t think anybody was thinking about a no-hitter. We were just trying to get runners on base and score runs and win.”
Besides Seager’s hit, the Mariners reached on two walks, a hit by pitch and two errors by shortstop Tim Beckham.
“Everything was working, all of his pitches,” Cruz said. “You see a pitcher and he might have one or two pitches going in one night, but he had all four — fastball, changeup, slider, curveball — it makes it really tough for a hitter. He definitely dominated.”
The Mariners have been shut out by a starting pitcher twice this season. But neither Boston’s Brian Johnson nor Anaheim’s Ricky Nolasco did so with such authority. This was the best game the Mariners had pitched against them this season.
“No doubt,” Servais said. “He was ahead in the count, using all of his pitches, changeup early in the game, breaking balls later and elevated the fastball. You have to tip your hat to him.”
The fourth overall pick of the 2011 draft, Bundy has plenty of ability. But injuries, including Tommy John surgery in 2013, have slowed his path to reaching that vast potential. He improved to 13-8 and lowered his ERA to 3.94 in 25 starts. In his last five starts, he’s 4-0 with a 2.00 ERA with 45 strikeouts and six walks in 36 innings.
Bundy bested Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez, who pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. It was the fourth straight outing Ramirez pitched six complete innings.
“I thought Erasmo threw the ball fine,” Servais said. “He kept the ball down for the most part and he gave us a chance, but we did nothing to help him out offensively. He’s been exactly what we thought we were getting, somebody that can come in and get through the lineup three times. He’s been giving six competitive innings every time out.”
With two outs in the first inning, Ramirez left a 1-0 fastball on the inside half of the plate. Jonathan Schoop turned on the pitch, sending a towering blast into left field for his 29th homer of the season and a 1-0 lead.
It broke a streak of three consecutive starts without allowing a homer.
The solo homer provided all of the offense on the night for Baltimore. In the sixth inning, Manny Machado lunged at a low changeup and sent a line drive over the wall in left field.
“He’s a good hitter,” Ramirez said. “It was down and he still got good contact. He didn’t look comfortable when he hit it, but he got it off the middle of the barrel and had enough power to hit a homer.”
Welington Castillo hit a solo blast off James Pazos’ second pitch of the seventh inning, and Machado hit his second homer of the night off Casey Lawrence in the eighth.