For the first time this season, an opposing team made Dylan Bundy look human. But not for long.
Ranked as MLB.com's No. 10 prospect, Bundy gave up the first hit of his career to the first batter he faced Monday, but then tossed four scoreless frames to maintain his perfect ERA as the Class A Delmarva Shorebirds defeated the Asheville Tourists, 4-1.
The 19-year-old right-hander faced the minimum after allowing two baserunners, striking out four and walking one. Through his first five professional starts, he has retired 49 of 52 batters faced and recorded 25 punchouts.
Though he was working mostly off his fastball, which he estimated between 94 and 97 mph, Bundy said his secondary stuff improved as the game went on.
"It was pretty much evenly split between the changeup and curveball," Bundy said. "In the first inning, the changeup wasn't really working. I was letting it go too soon and leaving it up in the zone. In the third and fourth, I really had all three pitches working for me."
Bundy surrendered the lone hit to Delta Cleary leading off the game as the center fielder singled on a fly ball to left field. Brian Humphries then lined into a double play, and Samuel Mende lined out to end the inning.
"I'm pretty sure it was a 1-0 fastball inside," Bundy said. "[Cleary] got the barrel on it and -- he was a left-hander -- hit it inside out. It was just a fastball low and in. It was exactly where I wanted it, but he was able to get the bat head there and slice it down the line."
Cleary again reached base against Bundy by drawing a four-pitch leadoff walk in the fourth, but Humphries struck out swinging and Mende grounded into a double play.
"I'm not really worried about that hit at all," Bundy said. "I'm going to give up a lot of hits this year, I think everybody knows that. I'm more disappointed about that four-pitch walk. That's unacceptable."
Bundy threw 45 pitches in the game, then tossed another 17 in the bullpen to end his day. He excelled at generating weak contact, garnering four groundouts without a fly ball.
"The key to pitching is keeping the ball down low," he said. "A lot of people say they've never seen a ground ball leave the park. Keeping it on the ground is a huge thing for pitchers, and I think I did a good job keeping the ball low tonight. They were swinging early on against my fastball, and when they did, it was usually a ground ball."
Selected with the fourth overall pick in June, Bundy had allowed only one baserunner through his first four starts of the season -- the walk in his third effort. He went three innings in his first three outings before the Orioles allowed him to go four frames in the past two. The plan is him to complete one more four-inning start before he goes five frames.
Though Bundy has enjoyed a great deal of success already, there are still parts of his game that he is trying to work on. After focusing on his changeup for most of the year, he is turning his attention toward throwing his off-speed stuff for strikes.
"The organization has asked me to develop my changeup, and I feel like I've done that over the past five starts," Bundy said. "Now I'm just focused on throwing off-speed pitches for strikes when I want to. Tonight, it was a little bit off, not spot-on like it normally is. But I was able to make pitches in 1-2 counts and 2-2 counts when I really needed to."
Trent Howard tossed the final five innings for the Shorebirds, allowing one run on six hits. He fanned six without issuing a walk as he improved to 2-0.
No. 4 Orioles prospect Nick Delmonico led the offense by going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs.