Orioles offense carries Hammel again in win over Angels

Joe Haakenson, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jason Hammel wasn't good, but he was good enough.
Hammel survived a shaky start, managed to finish six innings and once again got plenty of support from the offense as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels, 8-4, Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
J.J. Hardy (fourth inning) and Manny Machado (fifth inning) each slugged a two-run home run to bring the Orioles back from an early deficit against Angels starter Jerome Williams. Machado's homer gave the Orioles a 5-4 lead, and ultimately their third win in the four-game series. The Orioles went 7-4 in the 11-game trip to Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim.
"It's huge for us, to come over here to the west coast and come out with a winning record," Machado said. "We played great defense, we're hitting with runners in scoring position, and our pitching did very well this whole road trip."
Hammel certainly wasn't great, giving up four runs in the first four innings, including a home run to Mike Trout. But he managed to get through six innings and improved to 5-1. Only Boston's Clay Buchholz (six) has more wins this season in the American League, and Hammel can thank an Orioles offense that has averaged 6.7 runs per game in his seven starts.
"He has his ups and downs some innings, but he never stops fighting," Machado said of Hammel, who gave up four runs and nine hits, walked three and struck out five. "He goes after the hitters and gets big outs. That's why he's our No. 1."
As good as the Orioles are feeling about themselves, it couldn't be much worse for the Angels. At 11-20, the Angels have equaled their worst start through 31 games in franchise history, matched by the 1990 club.
"We've dug ourselves our hole again," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "And the only way you get out, you can't jump up five rungs. You're going to have to claw your way up, one game at a time. That's where your focus has to be. We're not looking at road trips, we're not looking at blocks of games, we're looking at Tuesday."
The Angels begin a six-game road trip to Houston and Chicago on Tuesday, and Scioscia said there is no doubt about where the club's primary deficiency lies.
"It's tough to just pin it on one group but there's an absolute that's happening, and that is that we have to pitch better," he said. "If we're not going to get it done on the mound, it's going to be uphill the whole season. We have to be able to get to a certain point of the game, get the game on our terms, and the only way to do that is to pitch at a level that is going allow us to accomplish that."
Things started well for the Angels, as they scored three runs on four hits in the first inning. But Williams couldn't hold the lead. J.J. Hardy tied the game at 3 with a two-run homer. Trout's home run in the bottom of the fourth gave the Angels the lead again, but only temporarily. Machado hit a home run with Nate McLouth on base to put the Orioles up for good at 5-4. Williams (1-1), who moved from the bullpen to make his first start of the season, gave up five runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings.
"I don't think it was command," Williams said. "I only gave up four hits. Two of them were homers. Those three walks, I was around the zone. It wasn't an issue of command, it was about executing a pitch. Those two pitches (home runs) I didn't execute. I didn't execute. I'm better than that."
NOTES: Angels 1B Albert Pujols was not in the starting lineup Sunday for the first time this season. Battling plantar fasciitis in his left foot all season, Pujols received extensive treatment after Saturday's game. Coupled with Monday's off-day, Pujols will get two days of rest. ... Orioles 1B Chris Davis was back in the starting lineup Sunday against the Angels after missing Saturday's game with tendinosis of his right knee. He hurt the knee running out a groundball on Friday, but an MRI exam Saturday showed no structural damage. ... Angels RF Josh Hamilton hit in the No. 3 spot Sunday for the first time this season with 1B Albert Pujols getting the day off. Hamilton entered the game with nine hits in his previous 49 at-bats since a four-hit game on April 22. ... Orioles RHP Jim Johnson has converted 32 consecutive save opportunities dating back to July 30, 2012. The Orioles record is 34, held by Randy Myers and set in 1997.

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