MINNEAPOLIS - Jason Hammel hasn't been able to work his road magic tonight.
All five of Hammel's wins this season have come away from home, but he's down 3-0 in the second inning at Target Field and the Twins already have worked him for 51 pitches.
The Twins have sent 12 batters to the plate and collected five hits and a walk. Joe Mauer was credited with a double in the first on a line drive that eluded right fielder Chris Dickerson, who froze on the ball and broke back late before reaching up and failing to make the catch.
The misplay put runners on second and third with no outs, and Jamey Carroll scored on Josh Willingham's grounder to third baseman Manny Machado.
The Twins loaded the bases with no outs in the second on a walk and two singles. Hammel struck out Eduardo Escobar on a 93 mph fastball and Carroll on an 85 mph slider, but Joe Mauer bounced a two-run single into center field after falling behind 1-2.
Hammel started slowly in his last start in Anaheim, allowing three runs in the first inning before settling down and completing the sixth. Hammel has worked six innings in five of his seven starts.
As I wrote earlier today, Hammel is the fifth Orioles pitcher to win each of his first five road starts in a season since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954. The only Orioles pitchers to win each of their first six road starts since 1954 are Hoyt Wilhelm (1959) and Jeff Ballard (1989).
If Hammel wins tonight, he will become the first pitcher since 1920 to record his sixth road win before May 17. Pedro Martinez (2000), Wilbur Wood (1973) and Jim Perry (1970) all recorded their sixth road win on May 17.
He will need the Twins to do a better job of cooperating.
He also will need the offense to do a better job in the clutch. The Orioles left the bases loaded in the third inning when Chris Davis flied to center. They're 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and have stranded five.
Down on the farm, Double-A Bowie outfielder Henry Urrutia is 3-for-3 with a double and walk, leaving his Eastern League average at .349.
Update: Hammel turned in his shortest outing of the season, allowing six runs in four-plus innings. He gave up eight hits, walked two, struck out six and hit a batter. Hammel threw 87 pitches, 54 for strikes.
Hammel faced three batters in the fifth inning and didn't record an out. T.J. McFarland replaced him after Trevor Plouffe's RBI double, and Oswaldo Arcia's groundout plated the sixth run.
Machado fouled a ball off his left ankle in the fifth inning, but he stayed in the game after a brief delay. He was clearly in pain.
Adam Jones could feel it from the dugout.
Update II: The Orioles collected four doubles in the sixth inning - by Nick Markakis, Davis, J.J. Hardy and Dickerson - and scored three runs to cut Minnesota's lead to 6-3.
Davis, Hardy and Dickerson had RBIs. Hardy extended his hitting streak to seven games. He's 9-for-25 with seven RBIs during that stretch.