Hammel's timing: From bad to good (O's lose 6-3)

Jason Hammel tied his career high by allowing eight runs in his final start before the All-Star selections were announced.

Bad timing.

Hammel is one of five finalists for the Final Vote, joining fellow pitchers Jonathan Broxton, Yu Darvish, Ernesto Frieri and Jake Peavy. Tonight, he's held the Mariners to one run through six innings.

Good timing.

Hammel has given up five hits, including John Jaso's gift double in the sixth, walked none and struck out seven. He's clinging to a 3-1 lead provided by Chris Davis' three-run homer in the fourth inning.

He's been challenged by his teammates, who have committed an error (Robert Andino), allowed a runner to move into scoring position by missing the cutoff man (Adam Jones) and failed to hold onto a fly ball that was ruled a double (Steve Pearce).

The Orioles are hurting in the outfield corners. I'll point out the obvious again. And it's not the replacements' fault. They're infielders playing the outfield.

The Mariners put runners on second and third with one out in the sixth, but Hammel retired Kyle Seager on a slow roller in front of the mound and struck out Miguel Olivo. That's what an ace is supposed to do. The lead and the game could have gotten away from him, but Hammel manned up.

Hammel hadn't allowed an earned run in two of his last three starts. He's thrown 89 pitches, and if the score stays the same, he figures to turn the lead over to Pedro Strop in the eighth or closer Jim Johnson in the ninth.

This is Hammel's fourth career appearance against Seattle. He's walked none and struck out 20 in 18 1/3 innings.

Update: Hammel walked two batters in the seventh, Andino dropped a throw, the Mariners loaded the bases and Casper Wells cleared them with a double that gave Seattle a 4-3 lead.

Didn't take long for this game to turn, but while Hammel clearly was tiring - he threw 114 pitches - plays weren't made behind him.

Hammel's now charged with four runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, with two walks and eight strikeouts. Troy Patton replaced him and stranded Wells at second base.

Update II: Patton gave up back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches in the eighth inning - he had served up three before tonight - and the Orioles lost to the Mariners, 6-3.

Patton had allowed one earned run in his last 10 2/3 innings.

The Orioles were held to three hits, none after the fifth inning. Their only runs came on one swing from Davis.

The starting pitching was much better, but the offense and defense continue to raise concerns.

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