Hammel on Hammel (O’s take the lead)

TAMPA, Fla. - If Jason Hammel’s goal was to build his pitch count, he did it tonight.

Hammel threw 89 pitches, 59 for strikes, in 5 1/3 innings and left with the Orioles leading, 3-1. He was charged with a second run after Troy Patton entered the game in relief.

“I felt good. Real good,” Hammel said. “Pretty much everything I was working on, I was pretty happy with, and the results were good.”

Hammel went to a full count against the first two batters in the sixth, striking out Alex Rodriguez and surrendering a double to Mark Teixeira, before coming out of the game. He threw 14 pitches to two batters.

Hammel’s highest pitch count in any inning was 22. He twice needed only nine pitches to get back into the dugout. By contrast, he threw 39 pitches in the second inning in his previous start against the Red Sox and was done for the day.

“I definitely tired in the last one from the (39)-pitch inning,” he said. “To get into the sixth (tonight) was obviously the goal. I wanted to finish it, but we’re being smart and shutting it down where I was. It feels good to get stretched out.

“I wasn’t real worried about the last (start). Just a lot of foul balls. But tonight, real good execution. Worked on getting the two-seamer back in action and it was very successful tonight except for one pitch that probably went 900 feet.”

He’s referring to Raul Ibanez’s home run.

“Other than that, I was real happy with it,” he said.

Matt Wieters went 2-for-3 and raised his average to .302. He has 10 hits in his last 13 at-bats.

Update: Ronny Paulino singled off D.J. Mitchell to score LJ Hoes in the top of the ninth and give the Orioles a 4-3 lead. Hoes reached on an infield hit, and Mitchell hit Caleb Joseph with one out.

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