BALTIMORE — Baltimore Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel was one of the team’s most pleasant surprises last year. He pitched well enough to be the opening day starter this season.
And for two months this year, Hammel did what a top-of-the-rotation starter does — he won.
Hammel (7-6) has lost five straight decisions and hasn’t won since May 27, on the road against the Washington Nationals. He’s gone from the club’s most reliable starter to one of its biggest concerns as the season’s ceremonial first half ends Sunday.
Despite getting home runs in the second consecutive game from all-stars Chris Davis and Adam Jones, the Orioles (52-43) didn’t rally after the Blue Jays (45-48) scored five unanswered runs — two in the sixth inning and three in the seventh.
The Orioles had a chance in the ninth. With two runners on base and one out, Toronto closer Casey Janssen struck out the final two batters for his 18th save.
Pitching before Camden Yards’s fifth sellout of the year — a boisterous announced crowd of 46,150 — Hammel carried a one-run lead into the sixth before allowing four straight two-out base hits, including J.P. Arencibia’s two-run, bases-loaded single.
Hammel escaped the sixth with a groundout and returned to the mound for the seventh, having thrown 93 pitches.
— Baltimore Sun