There may have been rust or jitters or simply a lack of recent familiarity with the American League.
Joe Saunders, however, chalks up his rough Orioles debut on Wednesday to one bad inning – the first, in which he allowed four runs on four hits and a walk.
“You always want to set a good impression your first time,” said Saunders, who was acquired Sunday from Arizona for reliever Matt Lindstrom. “It sucks that that first inning was the first inning. But you’ve got to turn the page quick and look forward to the next start.”
Overall, Saunders, a Northern Virginia native, allowed seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. Two of the runs scored after he left the game with one out in the sixth. It was the first time he had pitched since Aug. 20 – but he didn’t blame the layoff.
“I wouldn't say so. I tried to keep myself as sharp as I could, throwing flat grounds and just looking at video and all that stuff,” he said. “It just didn't go my way there in the first, and that was pretty much the game as it ends up.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was prepared to give Saunders a mulligan given the circumstances. Showalter expects a more complete outing next time.
“I think he's had eight days off. Probably a little rusty,” Showalter said of Saunders. “Then he settled in and pitched pretty well there. Gave up an unearned run. He'll be better. Thought second, third and fourth (innings), you can see what he's capable of. … I put myself in his shoes with the eight days off because of the trade and the travel and what-have-you. I'll certainly give him that respect of a guy who's had success. He'll contribute here.”