Hammel rebounds nicely from bad beginning

Knowing Jason Hammel, he's going to pick apart his start today and give himself a failing grade. He's a harsh critic.

Hammel needed about two hours to get through the bottom of the first inning - and that's only a mild exaggeration - but he made it through six innings and is in line for the win.

Hammel gave up four runs and nine hits, walked three, struck out five and threw a wild pitch. He threw 107 pitches, and most of them seemed to come during that marathon first inning.

Three of those runs scored in the first inning, equaling his total in the opening frame this season. The Angels sent nine batters to the plate. Hammel looked like he would be gone in the blink of an eye.

Not so fast.

Hammel has a chance to improve to 5-1 in seven starts this season. His command is lacking compared to how he pitched last season. He isn't quite right, but he can tough his way through a start with the best of them.

Hammel threw 38 pitches in the first inning. The odds of him completing six innings were slim, but he did it.

He was hurt by a blown call on Mike Trout's stolen base. The replays on MASN2 clearly showed that Trout was out. But Hammel created enough issues on his own.

But here he is, on the brink of another win.

It didn't seem possible in the early innings.

J.J. Hardy has his fourth two-hit game of the season, all of them since April 26.

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