Showalter on Hammel: “I think his best games are ahead of him”

Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel called his start today “unacceptable” and challenged himself to get better. His manager was much kinder.

Hammel was charged with six runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings in the Orioles’ 7-3 loss to the Blue Jays at sold-out Camden Yards.

“I thought there were some hard-hit balls,” Showalter said. “You’ve got that one inning - a couple infield hits, a broken bat. He gave us a chance for the most part. We just didn’t do a whole lot offensively.

“We knew they were going to pitch a bullpen game. They were well-rested. A really good bullpen. We knew we were going to see a lot of left-right action the whole day. We knew it was going to be that kind of matchup.

“He was OK, all things considered. Kind of gets magnified when we don’t do a whole lot offensively.”

Hammel hasn’t won since May 27.

“We haven’t won on the day he’s pitched,” Showalter said, correcting a reporter. “He’s pitched some good games. You can go back through that. There are some things that didn’t work out. But I think it bodes well for the rest of the season because he’s capable of better and I think his best games are ahead of him.

“He’s shown us he can do it. I have a lot of confidence in him.”

Showalter also approved of J.J. Hardy’s decision to bunt with two on and two outs in the eighth inning with the Orioles trailing by four runs. Reliever Steve Delabar fielded the ball and threw to first.

“Great play, great play,” Showalter said. “Very team-oriented. Bring the tying run to the plate. That’s a great play and everybody on the bench felt the same way.

“He gets it two feet to the left, we get the tying run to the plate and the game doesn’t look like it’s going to be that way. It’s a big play.”

Adam Jones, often criticized for being too aggressive at the plate, had his first two-walk game of the season.

“There’s a fine line there between aggressive and being selective,” Showalter said. “We like Adam, period. And all that comes with it. We’re lucky to have him.”

Chris Davis has 62 extra-base hits in 95 games and is on pace for 105, which would break Brady Anderson’s club record of 92 set in 1997.

The Orioles have homered in 16 straight games against the American League East to tie the club record set on May 18-June 24, 1979.

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