“The leadoff walk, that is pretty much what led to the whole inning. Lately, that is uncharacteristic and something I need to work on,” Johnson said.
He walked Michael Brantley on four pitches, Jason Giambi doubled and Cleveland’s comeback was on.
“It was not a good quality pitch (to Giambi), but the whole inning started with that four-pitch walk,” Johnson said. “Been walking too many guys this year and I’m not going to shy away from saying it. I need to do better with that part.
“Didn’t have a feel for the strike zone and leave a ball up to Giambi on the next pitch after the four-pitch walk, now you have second and third and you have to walk the next guy. So bases loaded, nobody out, it doesn’t get much worse. At that point, I am trying to limit the damage and try to worry about each individual pitch. Came real close to keeping it a tied score, but obviously I dug my own hole.”
He had given up just one earned run over his last 13 1/3 innings since his last blown save on May 26 in Toronto.
“Jason Hammel did a great job tonight and it takes away from his pitching performance. Leaves a sour taste in your mouth, but obviously I’m going to plead for the ball tomorrow,” Johnson said after suffering his fifth blown save in 32 chances on the year.
“That was a great game with good pitching and defense, kind of like how we played last year. It’s unfortunate but we’ll come back ready to play tomorrow.”
Hammel gave up only two runs tonight over seven innings, but they came on one pitch with a Jason Kipnis two-run homer in the top of the fourth.
“You know, it was basically one pitch. It wasn’t a terrible pitch, but it was the only two-seamer I threw that didn’t have depth,” Hammel said. “He’s good enough to go out and get it. Other than that, competed well and made pitches when I needed to.
“I feel like I’ve made improvements. Rough start to the year for me, but I feel like I am on the right track right now. Wins and losses don’t tell the whole story.”
Before the homer, Asdrubal Cabrera reached on a hit by pitch and Hammel questioned the call. He threw a slider and wasn’t sure Cabrera should have been awarded first base.
“I didn’t think I got him,” Hammel said. “I didn’t go back and look at it, but I got the ball back and there wasn’t anything on it. I don’t know.”
He did give the Orioles their second straight seven-inning outing and the starters all know they need to start eating more innings.
“Yeah, we have to do it,” Hammel said. “It’s our job to get deep into games. With how many innings our bullpen has already pitched, we have to pick up the slack there. Getting late into games gives Buck (Showalter) more options and it is what we have to do.”
Adam Jones was asked about Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
“Man got ahead of us with his first-pitch fastball,” Jones said. “He took advantage of a generous zone and kept the ball down and kept us off balance. We had some good pitches to hit tonight, so there is no excuse.”