Hammel pitches a gem as O's take series opener against the Nats

After a four-game series where O's pitchers gave up 29 runs and O's starters failed to go six innings once, the Orioles needed Jason Hammel to go deep in today's game.

Hammel did just that, pitching eight very solid innings as the Orioles beat the Nationals 6-2 in Game 1 of a four-game home-and-home series. The game attracted a sellout of 41,260 at Nats Park.

Hammel allowed eight hits and two runs with no walks and eight strikeouts. He improves to 7-2 with an ERA of 4.98 and threw 107 pitches. After going 2-0 with an ERA of 2.70 against the Nationals last season, he is 6-0 with an ERA of 3.15 in eight career starts against Washington.

This was just the fifth time all year an O's starter went seven innings or more. Chris Tillman has done it twice and now Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez have done it once each.

In a non-save situation with a four-run lead, Darren O'Day pitched a scoreless last of the ninth.

By scoring six runs today, the Orioles set a club record. This is the first time in team history the Orioles have scored five or more runs in 10 consecutive road games.

The Orioles had 15 hits today, but left 14 runners on the bases.

After going scoreless on one hit through the first three innings today, the Orioles broke through for three in the third off Gio Gonzalez.

Chris Davis drew a leadoff walk and Matt Wieters singled. With one out, Yamaico Navarro worked an 0-2 count to 3-2 before he singled to left to tie the game 1-1. After Hammel dropped a sac bunt advancing two runners, Nick Markakis came up with a two-run single to extend his batting streak to 12 games and give the Orioles a 3-1 lead. Wieters added a sac fly an inning later to make it a 4-1 lead.

Navarro added an RBI single in the seventh for a two-RBI game, one off his career high set for Pittsburgh against Atlanta on April 30 last season. Adam Jones singled in a run in the eighth for his 35th RBI.

Manny Machado had yet another big day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with his major league-leading 23rd double. This was his fifth multi-hit game during the last six and he is batting .448 (13-for-29) with five doubles in that span.

After going 0-for-7 their first time through the order today, the Orioles then had eight hits in their next 13 at-bats against Gonzalez, who entered this start with an ERA of 1.67 in May.

The Orioles extend their all-time series lead to 24-19 over the Nationals. They went 4-2 against Washington last season and own a 16-9 record since 2009.

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