Game 3: Orioles 3, Twins 1

With the series win already in their pocket, the O’s went for the sweep in what seemed like a favorable match-up.

The Good:

  • Jason Hammel. Wow. Groundout after groundout after easy groundout. Takes a no-hitter into the 8th inning of his Orioles debut (while facing the minimum, thanks to a pair of double plays). The heater had some giddy-up (93-94, 3 whiffs) and his breaking-balls looked good (4 whiffs on the slider, and got the curve in there for strikes). Hammel induced 14 groundballs to just 4 flyball, which is the kind of thing that will serve him well in Camden Yards. Final line: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K.
  • Jim Johnson picked up the easy save; two groundouts and a K.
  • JJ Hardy hit his first home run of the season, giving each of the O’s 2-5 hitters at least one longball on the year.
  • Nick Markakis didn’t homer, but he did work a couple walks on the day. 
  • Wilson Betemit, benched against a lefty yesterday, faced one out of the Twins’ pen and almost hit one out (settled for a two-run double).
  • Adam Jones singled twice, and then stole a base on the front end of a double steal with Nick Johnson (who had been hit by a pitch). That was Johnson’s first steal since 2009, and gives him more stolen bases on the year than hits and walks combined. Johnson got hit again in his next at bat (and miraculously he isn’t going on the DL), but was thrown out trying to take second on a wild pitch (perhaps the earlier steal gave him a false impression of his speed).

The Bad:

  • Buck had Kevin Gregg warming up in the 8th when Hammel allowed the base-runners. The thought of him entering a close game with runners on base is somewhat terrifying, but perhaps Buck just wanted to provide Hammel with some motivation (“you better bear down or your lead is likely to vanish”).

The Final:

The Orioles get the sweep in impressive fashion, with the starting pitchers going a combined 22 IP, 10 H, 3 R (1 ER), 6 BB, 12 K. Now they’ll face a real challenge, with the Yankees coming to town. Three wins down, 67 to go to get to 70.