It has been a season of firsts for Dylan Bundy. Of course, that's the case for anyone making his professional debut, but few rookies have had their every move put under a microscope like the fourth overall pick in last year's Draft.
So when Bundy made his first start, earned his first win and received his first promotion, the baseball world took notice.
It took notice again Saturday when the Orioles' No. 2 prospect suffered his first loss as a pro.
Bundy (1-1) allowed one run on three hits and struck out seven over five innings, but Class A Advanced Frederick couldn't muster any offense and fell to Wilmington, 1-0, in the first game of a doubleheader.
The 19-year-old right-hander shrugged off his latest milestone.
"Wins and losses aren't a big thing in the Minor Leagues," Bundy said. "As long as I accomplish my pitches and get the results I'm looking for, I'll be happy with my outing. Five innings and one run is pretty good."
All three hits off MLB.com's No. 8 overall prospect were on the ground, including two that stayed in the infield. Both of those knocks came in the fifth, sandwiched around a sacrifice that put runners on the corners with one out. With the game still scoreless, Blue Rocks manager Vance Wilson called for a squeeze bunt from No. 9 hitter Alex McClure.
The decision paid off as McClure's bunt was fielded by Bundy, whose only play was to first as Roman Hernandez scored the game's lone run.
"Anytime you put a squeeze or a safety squeeze on in that situation, it's not easy to bunt off a guy throwing that hard," Wilson said. "You're worried about a pitchout, you're worried about if he's going to drop a curveball, because that's your shot to get it. Obviously, he threw a strike, and McClure executed."
Bundy, meanwhile, didn't second-guess the strategy.
"It's a seven-inning game, so you don't get many chances out there," he said. "They're trying to win. So why not try to get a run across any way that you can?"
Despite the loss, Saturday gave Bundy a second chance to acclimate himself to the Class A Advanced Carolina League. After pitching 30 innings without allowing an earned run in the South Atlantic League, he's given up three in 10 innings with Frederick.
"The hitters are more solid up and down the lineup in [Class A Advanced]," he said. "I wouldn't say that they have a better approach, but they definitely have a little more of an approach here than in [Class A].
"But really, I'm still pitching the same game. I just have to be more careful about where I use my fastball. Down in [Class A], I could throw my fastball whenever, but here, they can hit a 2-0 fastball. So I have to go to my curveball or other off-speed stuff and have more confidence that I can do that overall."
Yordano Ventura (3-4), the Royals' No. 9 prospect, earned the win for the Blue Rocks after yielding three hits and fanning six over five innings. The right-hander, who turns 21 on Sunday, lowered his ERA to 2.82 ERA in 11 starts with Wilmington.