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Orioles 3, Blue Jays 7: BABiP'd, or: If they put it in play, bad things can happen.

The Orioles came back from a 2-0 deficit to lead 3-2, but a struggling Jason Hammel only managed one strikeout and got BABiP'd to death, and the Jays managed five runs between the sixth and seventh innings.


Hammel put the O's in a hole quickly. Jose Reyes led off the game with a double, and after Jose Bautista popped out to catcher, Edwin Encarnacion crushed a two-run shot into the visitors' bullpen. Adam Lind then blooped a single to left-center, but Colby Rasmus grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. After the O's went down in order in the bottom of the first, Jason Hammel needed a quick inning of his own. He got one, allowing a leadoff single to Maicer Izturis, but getting three outs from two groundballs.

In the bottom of the second, MASN brought up one of the most random stats I've ever seen. They displayed a graphic showing that Adam Jones has had 3 official AB in 182 straight games, which is the longest current streak in the majors and the longest in O's history. Gary Thorne remarked that it was a strange stat, and that it's surprising that there aren't longer such streaks. Of course, it's not terribly surprising that Adam Jones might have a long stretch of games like that: he doesn't walk much, and if a player walks, the plate appearance does not become an official at-bat. I guess they give the announcers something to talk about, but I really wish that more of the people who come up with these crazy "statistics" bothered to think about whether or not they're meaningful.

Speaking of Jones, he struck out to lead off the inning. Just as Gary Thorne started talking about Chris Davis's opposite-field home runs, Davis hit yet another, on the ninth pitch of his at-bat. J.J. Hardy followed with a single to third base that glanced off of Maicer Izturis's glove, and Brian Roberts drew a walk, but Matt Wieters (with one out) and Nolan Reimold (with two outs) both struck out. 2-1 Jays.

In the top of the third, Hammel walked Emilio Bonifacio on four pitches, but the latter made the mistake of trying to steal on Matt Wieters, and Hammel got another pair of groundouts. The O's went down in order again in the bottom of the third, and after the Jays stranded two baserunners in the top of the fourth, the O's rallied. Adam Jones led off with a homer, tying the game at 2-2. Chris Davis then got hit by a pitch, and after J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters both made outs, Brian Roberts singed an RBI double off the top of the right-field scoreboard. Nolan Reimold struck out, stranding Roberts, but the O's now led, 3-2.

The fifth wasn't Hammel's first three-batter inning, but he did set the Blue Jays down in order for the first time. The O's once again went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half, but Hammel seemed to be getting by despite not having strikeout stuff. Unfortunately, everything came unraveled in the sixth. With two outs, three consecutive singles - two of them quite weakly hit - loaded the bases for J.P. Arencibia, who drove in two with a first-pitch single to left. Brett Lawrie grounded out to end the inning, but the Jays now led, 4-3. Adam Jones drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half, but Chris Davis grounded into a fielder's choice, and he and J.J. Hardy were retired on a strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out double play, ending the inning.

Hammel was unlucky in the sixth, but left a mess for the bullpen in the seventh, hitting Emilio Bonifacio on the foot and walking Jose Reyes on four pitches to start the inning, though it appeared he was getting squeezed pretty badly against the latter. Recent callup Jairo Asencio came on in relief and gave up an RBI double to Jose Bautista. After Asencio intentionally walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases, Troy Patton came on. Adam Lind hit a hard shot to Chris Davis; the ball deflected off of his glove, scoring a run and preventing what could've been a line-drive double play, but the O's still managed a force out at second base. Colby Rasmus grounded to short, but too softly for a double play, and yet another run scored. Maicer Izturis finally lined out to center, but the Jays had increased their lead to 7-3.

The O's bullpen didn't surrender any more runs, and the offense managed five baserunners through the final three innings, but couldn't score any of them. This one just got away after the unlucky sixth and Hammel's poor beginning to the seventh. Perhaps the deciding stat in this game was the number of strikeouts for each team. The Blue Jays struck out just twice, while the Orioles struck out thirteen times. Strikeouts aren't the end of the world - better to strike out than to hit into a double play, and all that - but it's hard to be successful offensively when the opposing pitching staff is striking out more than a batter per inning. Tomorrow, Scott Feldman will face Josh Johnson in the rubber match.