In what’s becoming a cruel joke being played on the Baltimore Orioles by the universe, Jason Hammel limped off the mound last night after suffering what appeared to be a setback with his recently surgically repaired knee.
Hammel left in the fourth inning after throwing a pitch to Matt Joyce. He had retired 11 of 13 batters.
Hammel was making his second start since returning from the disabled list after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in mid-July.
In his first start since July 13, Hammel allowed one run in five innings against the New York Yankees on Thursday. He said his knee felt fine after the game.
The hits just keep on coming as the team lost Nick Markakis for the season just two days ago and we can only hope that the same fate does not await Hammel.
However, if there is one thing that we should have learned about the 2012 Orioles by now, it’s that this is the most resilient team in baseball – proven, once again, by the 9-2 drubbing they gave the Tampa Bay Rays last night.
Six Oriole pitchers combined for a five-hitter as the team overcame Hammel’s early exit and the uncertainty surrounding the extent of damage that may or may not be a concern.
J.J. Hardy hit two homers, had four hits and drove in five runs last night. That is one short of his career best of six RBIs that he had on Sept. 7, 2005, for the Milwaukee Brewers against the New York Mets. Hardy now has 11 extra-base hits over his past 17 games. In that stretch, he is batting .324 (22-for-68) with six doubles, five homers and 14 RBIs.
The Orioles, chasing their first postseason appearance since 1997, had the energy, not to mention most of the hits, and won the first game of this crucial three-game series in front of 23,828 mostly orange-clad fans at Camden Yards.
The Orioles moved back into a tie for first in the American League East with the Yankees, losers Tuesday night in Boston.
The Rays, who suffered their first blowout loss since early August, dropped two games behind the Orioles in both the division and the wild card standings.