Hammel holds fort until Reimold rallies O's
BALTIMORE -- The day didn't begin well for Orioles starter Jason Hammel when he struggled with his command early. He allowed four runs and five baserunners on 51 pitches in just the opening two innings against the Dodgers in the first game of a split doubleheader on Saturday at Oriole Park.
Hammel fought through the adversity, knowing he had to go deeper into the game to protect the O's bullpen. He recovered with a nine-pitch third and kept going strong through the sixth, not allowing another run to keep his team in the game.
After Hammel recovered from his shaky start, Nolan Reimold homered and hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth to lead the Orioles to a 7-5 victory. It was just the Orioles' second win in seven games against the Dodgers in the regular season.
"I thought I did pretty well keeping our guys in it and giving them a chance to battle back -- and they did it," Hammel said. "It's nice to walk away from this with a win. I had to be a little more economical with the pitches or it was gong to be a short day. I just did a good of being aggressive and staying aggressive."
In addition to the four runs, Hammel allowed seven hits and three walks while recording five strikeouts over six innings of a no-decision. Righty Darren O'Day picked up his second win with a scoreless eighth.
The Orioles continued to rely on home runs to score runs, as both J.J. Hardy and Reimold went deep. Entering the game, the Orioles scored 53.4 percent (39-of-73) of their runs via the long ball.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis went 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Closer Jim Johnson picked up his seventh save.
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks, while fanning six, over six innings. Reliever Paco Rodriguez was charged with the winning run and took the loss for the Dodgers, who have now dropped five straight games.
The Orioles trailed by four runs after just two innings, but they kept chipping away. They took their first lead, 5-4, on an RBI single by Steve Pearce in the sixth.
Hammel finished his day with a scoreless, 11-pitch sixth inning.
"That's why Ham kind of graduated a little bit as a starter, because what you see in the first inning isn't necessarily what you're going to be seeing in the fifth or sixth inning," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "They've got some guys who need to hopefully follow that lead. It's not, 'Woe is me and the sky is falling.' It's, 'OK, let's make an adjustment and let's get our team through this and get a chance to win the game and don't tax the bullpen too much.'"
Right-hander Pedro Strop entered in the seventh and after recording the first out, walked Mark Ellis. After Matt Kemp singled Ellis to third, Strop allowed the tying run to score on a wild pitch with Adrian Gonzalez at the plate. After intentionally walking Gonzalez, Strop ended his afternoon after just 18 pitches.
Brian Matusz took over and got the Orioles out of the jam by striking out Andre Ethier and getting Ramon Hernandez to fly out to left. Matusz has stranded all 21 runners he has inherited since he was moved to the bullpen in August.
The Orioles rallied in the eighth with a one-out double by Davis and a walk by Hardy. After reliever Ronald Belisario intentionally walked pinch-hitter Nate McLouth, Reimold sliced a double to right field to score two runs.
"It looked like a pretty good pitch, actually," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He goes down and away from him there. You're looking to get a ground ball, he's looking to get the ball up. Again, we want to try to get down movement. When Belly's going good, that's what he's doing -- he's throwing ground balls."
The Dodgers started strong in the first when Ethier hit a towering, three-run homer off Hammel that was the 67th to land on Eutaw Street -- the 39th by an Orioles opponent. It also was the fourth consecutive game the Orioles have allowed a home run in the opening frame.
Los Angeles increased its lead to 4-0 in the second on a sacrifice fly by Ellis, who also boosted his hitting streak to four games with a first-inning single. The Orioles answered in the bottom half of that inning and cut the lead to 4-2 on a two-run homer by Hardy.
Reimold's third home run in the past six games then cut the margin to 4-3 in the fourth.
"Hammel battled out there and kept us in the game to give us a chance to win," Reimold said. "We were able to keep battling and putting runs on the board until we came out on top. It was a good win. It feels good. It's been a slow start to the year, and I had nowhere to go but up."