If anything good came out of tonight’s start for Jason Hammel, it was the condition of his right knee.
“Knee is good to go,” he said. “That’s a positive, I guess. No setbacks.”
Hammel took the brunt of the blame for tonight’s 8-5 Orioles loss.
“Honestly, we should have won the ballgame,” he said. “I let them back into the game twice. A 2-0 lead and then guys come back and get me some runs to get me ahead again, and I gave them right back. Early in the game, very much in command, doing what I wanted to do, my game plan. And then toward the end there maybe a little fatigue with not having to do too much with my legs the last seven or eight days. I started getting out of my game plan, started nibbling and getting behind hitters, and let them back in the game.
“Maybe a little fatigue. I didn’t do any running or anything. Just been on treatment for the last week and a half. Maybe a little rusty. But I’m not trying to make any excuses. I made some bad pitches. I made a lot of mistakes tonight.
“I wasn’t getting ahead of them later in the ballgame. Earlier in the game, as I said, I was in great command, going about my game plan like I wanted to. Just started to get a little too fine, nibbling a little bit, getting behind those guys. They’re patient hitters and very good hitters. You get behind them, they’re going to get their pitch to hit, even if you make a good pitch, and put a good swing on it.”
Hammel couldn’t retire a batter in the sixth.
“I’m pretty pissed off at that, obviously for a ‘pen that’s been doing so well for us all year,” Hammel said. “They were short yesterday. The last thing I wanted to do was get in the ‘pen tonight. Very disappointing. We’ll get them next time.”
First baseman Chris Davis explained what happened on Raul Ibanez’s bouncer with the bases loaded in the sixth that he booted for a two-run error.
“Basically he turned on the ball, hit it pretty hard,” Davis said. “I tried to make the throw before I caught it. In that situation right there, that’s a ball to turn two on, get some momentum back in the dugout. I just wasn’t ready to make the catch. Tried to make the throw before I had the ball.
“I mean, it was hit hard, but it’s still a play that’s got to be made. Whether it took a bad hop, good hop, you’re on the balls of your feet. The biggest thing is I turned my body trying to set up for the throw before I had the ball and it ate me up.
“It’s frustrating any time you make mistakes, especially ones you can really capitalize on. That’s the thing we’ve been doing the last few weeks really well is making sure we clean everything up and play good defense behind our pitching staff. When they’re getting ground balls, you know we’ve got to make those plays, so it’s obviously frustrating whenever you’re making mental and physical errors.”
Rain fell most of the night, which didn’t do Davis any favors.
“It was wet,” he said. “I don’t know about third or second, but it was pretty slick over there in front of first base. On that double play that (Derek) Jeter hit into, I stretched to go get the ball and my feet almost went out from underneath me, but everybody had to play on it.”
The conditions didn’t bother Xavier Avery, who doubled, tripled, drove in a run and scored twice in his second major league game.
“It felt good to help the team get going,” he said. “That’s my job as a leadoff hitter, to get things going. So it always feels good to do what I’m supposed to do, basically.”
What ran through Avery’s mind on his first hit, the double to center field in the first inning?
“I felt good going around first base and I was looking at Jeter as I was going into second, and then when I got there he started talking to me and he was asking me questions like, is that my first hit and stuff. So it felt good,” Avery said.
“I look over and I see (Robinson) Cano on the other side and he comes over and said ‘Congratulations.’ So it was a great feeling to have my first hit today here in Baltimore.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. My first hit, against the Yankees. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I always will remember.”
Nerves weren’t an issue tonight.
“I got rid of them yesterday, honestly,” he said. “Today, I was real calm on defense and at the plate. I just felt good today.”
Avery made sure to get the ball from his first hit.
“I’ll put it in my trophy room at home, back in Atlanta,” he said. “I’m going to hold onto it and I’m never going to lose it.”