Myworld did not know a lot about Jason Hammel when the Orioles traded Jeremy Guthrie to acquire him. On Sunday he was throwing 95 mile per hour fastballs for strikes. That is not a trait Oriole fans are used to seeing from their pitchers. He no hit the Twins for the first seven innings, allowing only two of the 21 hitters he faced to hit the ball in the outfield. He also allowed only two baserunners on base on balls, but they were immediately erased on double plays. He only was up to 78 pitches after seven innings. Past Oriole starters would reach that number by the third inning.
Justin Morneau spoiled the no hitter by crushing the first pitch from Jason to the wall in right field. Nick chased it but he had to watch it one hop off the wall for a double. Josh Willingham followed with a double down the left field line on an 0-2 pitch to spoil Jason’s shutout. After striking out Ryan Doumit he walked Sean Burroughs to put the winning run at the plate in Luke Hughes. Buck Showwalter stuck with Jason and Luke took a pitch for a called third strike. Chris Parmalee pinchhit for Ben Revere and drove a pitch to right field, which Nick Markakis settled under for the third out. Jim Johnson came on to pitch the ninth and retired the side in order to complete the sweep, striking out Joe Mauer to end the game. The Twins could only manage two hits the whole game, the back to back doubles by Morneau and Willingham.
Liam Hendriks was supposed to start the game for the Twins but food poisoning brought on Anthony Swarzak. He gave up a homerun to J.J. Hardy, the second hitter he faced, but pitched well after that, going five innings with no other blemish. In the fifth Sean Burroughs robbed J.J. Hardy of a single with a diving stop that probably prevented a run from scoring. It was his second stellar defensive play of the game.
Matt Maloney pitched the sixth and gave up a 2-run double to Wilson Betemit. The double was set up by a double steal by Adam Jones and Nick Johnson that advanced them to second and third. The Orioles could mount no further rallies.
Game Notes: It’s only three games in April against an opponent who had one of the worst records in baseball last year, but the Orioles are tied for first place with the Tampa Bay Rays at 3-0. Both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have started out the season 0-3. The O’s get a true test when they play the Yankees next…O’s vendors seem to be selling a lot of Nattie Bo’s, the beer of choice for Baltimore fans…A new concession was built in centerfield that is similar to the Nationals Park. You can sit at their tables and eat their hot dogs while you watch the game. It was one of the more popular concessions at the stadium, but that is to be expected since it was new.