The Orioles suffered a lot of frustrations in Sundays 7-2 loss to the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS at sold-out Camden Yards. They missed a number of scoring chances and couldnt take advantage of chances to take the lead and put pressure on New York.
However, one of the positives from the game was the performance of starting pitcher Jason Hammel. The right-hander had been the teams No. 1 pitcher before injuring his knee in July and then missing most of the final three months. He made it back for this game and threw 5 23 good innings to keep the Orioles close before the Yankees broke it open with a five-run ninth inning.
Hammel wasnt completely sharp. Hes usually got very good control but struggled with that, striking out five and walking four.
The right-hander often had to work from behind in the count but kept fighting. He allowed two runs on four hits and kept the Orioles even with CC Sabathia and the Yankees.
Jason was great, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. As good as Sabathia was, Jason matched him. Thats probably the difference in the game was Jason pitching real well, and I was real proud of him and everybody defensively that kept us in the game.
Hammel threw 112 pitches in the 5 23 innings and said he felt fine afterwards and would have preferred to go longer.
It was a tough loss, Hammel said. It was typical Yankees, deep counts, patient, got me out of the game earlier than I wanted to be.
The Yankees did what they usually do - foul off pitch after pitch or take pitches to make the starter work even more. Hammel said he would have rather thrown that many pitches over seven or eight innings.
But the very good news for Hammel is his troublesome knee came through everything fine. The Yankees tested it with their patience.
The knee is good, he said. No problems with the knee. Theyre veteran guys. Theyve been around long enough, they know the strike zone well. They go up there with a plan.
Hammels good start kept the Orioles close. Nate McLouths two-run single gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead over Sabathia in the third. New York tied it in the fourth, and the game remained deadlocked until Russell Martin hit a solo homer off closer Jim Johnson in the ninth.
That homer started a five-run inning that blew the game wide open. Johnson gave up five runs in just one-third of an inning.
Showalter and the Orioles all talked about they had plenty of good things in this opener. Hammel threw well, the defense played very strongly, and they stayed right with the Yankees until the end.
The Orioles now have to bounce back in Game 2 Monday night.
Thats why we play five games, Johnson said. Every time we take the field, we compete. Were going to play hard. Its unfortunate to lose the first game, especially at home. We battled all year. Were going to battle back and play hard.