Jason Hammel was on the ropes in the second inning, and the Blue Jays decided to ring the bell for him before the round ended.
Brett Lawrie tried unsuccessfully to steal home with the bases loaded, two outs and an 0-2 count on Jose Bautista, who’s led the American League in home runs the last two seasons. Hammel stepped off the rubber and fired the ball home, where Matt Wieters applied the tag after blocking the plate.
Hammel’s throw was high, but Wieters provided the usual roadblock.
We can only wonder what Lawrie was thinking. Paying homage to Jackie Robinson?
Hammel is laboring today. He’s allowed two runs and thrown 56 pitches through two innings. He’s not getting ground balls like he did in his first start, when they produced 16 of his outs.
Kelly Johnson, who homered in the first inning to tie the game, got ahead 3-0 with the sacks full and one out, but Hammel battled back to strike him out on a slider. Bautista fell behind and never got the chance to complete his at-bat.
Major props to Adam Jones for his takeout slide at second base on Wieters’ ground ball to short in the first that gave the Orioles a brief 1-0 lead. The Jays couldn’t turn the double play as J.J. Hardy scored.
It was a clean, aggressive slide that reminded MASN analyst Jim Palmer of former teammates Frank Robinson and Don Baylor. The Jays weren’t real happy about it, but that’s not Jones’ concern. His teammates and manager Buck Showalter were quite impressed.
In case you missed it, former Oriole Luke Scott belted a three-run homer and followed it up with a run-scoring double today at Fenway Park. He’s being booed each time he steps to the plate. He clearly doesn’t care.
Update: Chris Davis hit his first home run today, a two-run shot in the fourth inning that gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
So much for that streak of nine straight solo home runs.
Update II: Hammel held the Jays to two runs over five innings, leaving with his pitch count at 97. He made a nice recovery after the second inning.
However, Matt Lindstrom gave up two runs in the bottom of the sixth and the Orioles are behind, 4-3.
Wilson Betemit had a costly error at third base. Maybe it’s the position, not the player.
Lindstrom gave up two hits and walked a batter. He hadn’t made an appearance since waking up Wednesday with back spasms.
Update III: Betemit hit a solo homer off Casey Janssen in the eighth inning to tie the game at 4-4.