The Orioles looked to Jason Hammel tonight to be their stopper, and he wasn't. Of course, given that the Orioles offense scored just one run, Hammel would have had to throw a shutout to be that stopper. As it was, he gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings before giving way to the bullpen, which was again stellar (silver lining? I dunno, man).
The Orioles got on the board first tonight with a single run in top of the second inning. With one out, Mark Reynolds walked and Wilson Betemit singled ahead of right fielder Ryan Flaherty (get well soon, Nick!). Flaherty hit a ground ball that shortstop Yunel Escobar got a glove on, but he couldn't pull it in. Reynolds scored from third. And that was the end of the offense for the Orioles tonight.
From there on out, Toronto's starter Brandon Morrow shut the Orioles down. And I mean shut down. J.J. Hardy singled in the third inning, but Morrow only faced three batters thanks to a double play. He struck out the side in the third and was perfect in the fourth and fifth as well. The Orioles didn't have another baserunner until the sixth inning, and the way it happened, I think we'd all prefer they didn't.
With two outs in the sixth inning, Morrow threw a pitch inside that hit Adam Jones on the wrist. There was a delay on the field, but ultimately Adam stayed in the game. According to various sources on The Twitter, Adam says that he's fine, there is no need for x-rays, he'll be in the lineup Friday. But Buck Showalter says he'll get x-rays. Better safe than sorry. Everyone cross your fingers that Adam really is fine, because the way this team is playing, losing Adam Jones would be the nail in their coffin.
Jones took his place at first base after being hit, but he wasn't there long as Matt Wieters struck out to end the inning. The O's had just two more baserunners in the game and never looked even close to making a comeback.
Speaking of injuries, Morrow had to come out of the game after Betemit lined a ball off of his leg in the seventh inning. He had to be helped off the field, which is a little scary. Best wishes to Morrow, hopefully it's nothing serious.
As for Hammel, four runs in 6 /23 innings isn't horrible. It's not great, but we've certainly seen much worse. The disturbing thing about his outing is that he gave up four solo home runs, one each in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings. That's one more home run than he'd given up this entire season coming into the game. Three of the four home runs came from legitimate power threats: Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, and Colby Rasmus. But the fourth was to Rajai Davis. Come on, Hammel. You're better than that.
Despite the poor play of the Orioles that started with the Red Sox three series ago, they still manage to be tied for first place with the Tampa Bay Rays. After an off day tomorrow, the Orioles face those Rays at Tropicana Field. To stay in first they'll just have to beat two of David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, and Matt Moore. Hey, no problem!