About last night ... (Hammel update)

You've heard of good wins. Last night's win was a good one.

It helps little old ladies across the street. It picks up your tab. It mows your lawn in the middle of the summer. It raises your allowance. It restores your power. It lets you merge into heavy traffic. It hires Lindsay Lohan to work your next bachelor party.

Wei-Yin Chen turned in an inspired performance, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning before being charged with two runs. Pedro Strop gave up three straight hits in the eighth, hit a batter and walked in the tying run, but Robert Andino homered for the first time since May 7 to provide the winning margin.

OK, it would have been a better win without the eighth inning meltdown, but the Orioles couldn't head back to their hotel with another defeat. They couldn't turn two leads into two losses on consecutive nights.

The rotation has churned out two good starts in a row, though Jason Hammel didn't achieve quality status after being charged with four runs. The bullpen has been stellar, the best in baseball, but Troy Patton served up back-to-back home runs Monday night and Strop treated the lead as if it owed him money. He was pretty rough on it.

Strop was due for a bad night. He's entitled. Keep in mind that the guy had allowed two earned runs in his last 26 innings. And the plate umpire squeezed him so tightly on one pitch, he left fingerprints.

Xavier Avery had three hits last night. He might go 0-for-4 today, but he's got to keep playing. He's a legit glove in left field and he provides energy to a lineup that has a tendency to doze off. Play him.

Good thing Avery can sleep on a plane. He flew across the country yesterday morning and had to face Felix Hernandez, but there were no signs of jet lag.

Play him.

Chris Tillman joined Avery on that flight, but he didn't have to pitch until today. He's getting another chance to stick in the majors, and scouts from other teams will be watching. He's drawing interest around the league, but the Orioles have their own rotation needs.

To make room for Tillman, the Orioles optioned pitcher Steve Johnson, who never got a chance to make his major league debut. Maybe Johnson can get back into Triple-A Norfolk's rotation, unless the Tides want to stretch out J.C. Romero to three innings.

Romero permitted one run over 2 2/3 innings last night before giving way to Oscar Villarreal, who earned the win with 3 1/2 innings of scoreless relief.

Norfolk manager Ron Johnson is doing a phenomenal job. The Tides (44-43) are over .500 for the first time since being 2-1 in April 2010. And it's happening while the roster is being poached almost on a daily basis.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter thinks highly of Johnson. They talk pretty much on a daily basis, and Showalter has plenty of good things to say about him.

Anyway, the Orioles gained a game on the Yankees last night, as the division keeps begging them to make a move. They can win this series with a victory today. They can keep up their Jekyll and Hyde act.

Bad loss one night, good win the next.

NOTE: Jason Hammel still ranks third behind Yu Darvish and Jake Peavy in the Final Vote balloting.

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