Early innings continue to trip up Hammel, Rays lead 5-3

Jason Hammel has allowed 29 runs in nine starts this season, including tonight’s outing against the Tampa Bay Rays. Fifteen of them have scored in the first two innings.

Hammel threw 21 pitches in the opening frame tonight and fell behind 1-0 on Evan Longoria’s sacrifice fly to right field.

Matt Joyce singled with one out and Ben Zobrist doubled to left, with Chris Dickerson slipping on the warning track. Joyce held at third and scored easily on Longoria’s fly ball.

The Rays almost added another run, but Yamaico Navarro - auditioning at second base - made a backhanded stop of James Loney’s ground ball up the middle and bounced a throw to first that Chris Davis scooped for the final out.

Hammel has allowed seven runs in the second inning, three in the third, two in the fourth, two in the fifth, five in the sixth and two in the seventh.

The Orioles put runners on second and third with no outs in the bottom of the first, and Davis delivered a two-out, two-run single to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead against Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson.

Nate McLouth singled to end an 0-for-14 slump, and Manny Machado - brace yourselves - lined a double down the left field line.

Machado has 18 doubles, tying Mike Napoli for the major league lead. He began the night tied with Miguel Cabrera for most hits in the majors with 59. He’s 15-for-26 with six RBIs in his last six games.

Machado also began the night leading the majors in average by a right-handed batter against right-handed pitching at .368.

He’s pretty good.

Hellickson almost escaped the jam, but Davis singled in two runs and improved to 9-for-19 with seven RBIs against the Rays’ starter. Davis has 39 RBIs this season.

Update: J.J. Hardy extended his hitting streak to 12 games, longest by an Oriole this season, with a home run leading off the bottom of the second inning.

Orioles 3, Tampa Bay 1

Hardy has five homers during that streak, and eight for the season.

Hammel is up to 44 pitches in two innings. He stranded two runners in the second by striking out Desmond Jennings.

Update II: Hammel gave up six runs and eight hits in four innings in his last start in Minnesota. Tonight, he’s allowed five runs and eight hits in three innings.

Kelly Johnson belted a three-run homer with two outs and the count full in the third to give Tampa Bay a 5-3 lead. Hammel is up to 73 pitches, but no one is warming in the Orioles’ bullpen.

Plate umpire Mark Carlson didn’t do Hammel any favors in the third. Hammel appeared to strike out Johnson on a 2-2 pitch, but he didn’t get the call.

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