PHOENIX — Dylan Bundy had to wait a long time between starts before getting the ball on Saturday. Maybe it prepared for all the time he had to wait between innings, too.
The Twins sent 22 batters to the plate in innings 3-5 at Chase Field, with 13 of them reaching base and nine of them scoring. When his teammates occasionally granted Bundy a few minutes on the field, he limited the Diamondbacks to just four hits over eight innings, and Minnesota tied its most lopsided victory of the season with an 11-1 drubbing of Arizona.
Every Twin in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit, and six of them drove in runs. But the most notable performance came from a pitcher whose ERA in his last seven starts was a more-than-concerning 8.51.
"He was filling up innings just very quickly with great pitches, great command, great sequencing," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "The ability to go that long when you haven't done it in a little while, too, it was very impressive. His teammates really were rallying around that outing in a big way in the dugout."
Bundy became the first Twins starter to record an out in the eighth inning, and snapped a streak of starting seven consecutive losses, the longest such streak by a Twin since Jose Berrios started eight straight losses in 2016. It's the first time that Bundy pitched eight innings and allowed fewer than two runs since a complete-game 6-1 victory for the Angels in Seattle on Aug. 6, 2020.
Must have been quite a relief to finally find success again, right? "I guess you could say that, yeah," Bundy said with a slight smile. "Just got to keep it going every five or six days."
Or maybe nine. That's how long it had been since his last start.
"We decided to get Dylan a few extra days [of rest] on top of what the other guys were getting," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of Bundy, whose last start came on June 9, when he gave up four runs in four innings against the Yankees. Adding Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray from the injured list allowed the Twins to skip Lundy's start, and he made use of the time, the manager said.
"He's been working on some things. He's been working on his pitch mix, a little bit on his execution and what to do when he's ahead" in the count, Baldelli said. "Putting hitters away, knowing what to do once he's gotten to that point, is something he's spent some time on."
The Twins spent time Saturday blasting Diamondbacks righthander Luke Weaver and lefty Caleb Smith, racking up 14 hits, five for extra bases.
Six hits in the third inning were capped by Gary Sanchez's blast into the tables overlooking center field 456 feet away, and three more hits the following inning including Gio Urshela's two-run double. Ryan Jeffers contributed a two-run shot in the seventh inning, tossing his bat away as he watched it sail into the seats in left-center.
And yet, one of the biggest hits of the night didn't even make it out of the infield. Luis Arraez was on first base with two outs in the fourth inning, when Carlos Correa slapped a grounder to the left of shortstop Geraldo Perdomo. Correa ran as hard as he could and beat the one-hop throw. When Max Kepler followed with a single and Gio Urshela with a two-run double, the Twins' 6-0 lead became 9-0 and Bundy did the rest.
"That's winning baseball," Baldelli said of Correa's hustle. "He knows when you're playing in this ballpark, runs can get put on the board very very quickly. When it's 6-0, it's a ballgame. And he just continues to play hard and make plays."
Arraez continues to hit, too — even when he's not quite healthy. Suffering from what the Twins believe is a stomach bug, perhaps exacerbated by the Phoenix heat, Arraez still smacked sharp singles during his first two at-bats, lifting his batting average to .363, then walked in the fourth before being removed.