Orioles fall to Tigers 7-2, could lose Hammel
BALTIMORE—The Baltimore Orioles opened the second half of the season the same way they finished the first half: with a lopsided defeat.
This one, however, could have long-term ramifications.
Right-hander Jason Hammel hurt his right knee and was forced to leave in the fourth inning of Baltimore's 7-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
After throwing a pitch to Brennan Boesh, Hammel came off the mound awkwardly. He took a few practice throws before being removed by manager Buck Showalter.
It's the same knee that has been bothering Hammel (8-6) for much of the season, and the Orioles can only hope the injury isn't serious. Although he's lost his last four starts, Hammel leads the team with eight wins and is one of only two pitchers left from the opening day rotation.
"I was driving toward the plate and it didn't feel good," Hammel said. "Something felt really bad. It's the same area as the injury was before. It's kind of just day to day. We scheduled an MRI for (Saturday) and we'll find out more, but as of right now, we don't really know what's going on here."
Showalter said there wasn't much swelling, and would love to see Hammel continue to work with extended rest between starts.
"Hopefully, we'll get some good news and continue down the path we've been with him and his knee," Showalter said.
The Orioles can only hope to stray from the path they have taken since June 17, when they were 39-27. They have gone 6-14 since, and now stand just four games over .500 (45-41) for the first time since they were 12-8 on April 27.
Baltimore has scored only five runs in its last four games.
"You have to score more than one or two runs to give our pitcher run support," All-Star Adam Jones said.
Sidelined with a wrist injury since May 29, Baltimore's Nick Markakis returned to the lineup and hit in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career. He went 1 for 4 with a third-inning RBI.
Baltimore scored its other run in the ninth when All-Star Matt Wieters doubled in Jones.
With Markakis back in right field, Chris Davis played left field in the majors for the first time. Showalter said he was willing to take the risk because Davis "makes up for it with his bat."
Davis didn't make an error, but he didn't get a hit, either.
Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta homered, and Doug Fister pitched seven innings of three-hit ball for the Tigers, who have won six straight.
Cabrera hit his 19th home run in the fifth inning, a majestic drive to center off Luis Ayala that traveled an estimated 454 feet and provided Detroit with a 4-1 lead. Four batters later, Peralta hit a three-run, opposite-field shot to right off Dana Eveland.
Fister (3-6) gave up one run, struck out eight and walked none to earn his first road win in seven tries this season. Fister, who retired 12 straight at one point, has won two straight starts after dropping three in a row.
"Tonight was another good step forward," Fister said. "Everybody came out hot and we were swinging the bats well. It was just a good, all-around team effort. I felt with location. I really focused on keeping the ball down and moving in and out with their hitters."
Detroit's Delmon Young had two hits and scored a run, but his streak of games with at least one home run ended at four, one short of the club record.
The Tigers averaged 6.2 runs in the five games before the All-Star break, and in the first inning it became apparent that the four-day layoff did nothing to hamper their productivity. Three of the first four Detroit batters singled to load the bases, and a two-out single by Boesh made it 2-0.
The Orioles ended the season's first half by being shut out 3-0 and 6-0 in consecutive games against Los Angeles, and their run of consecutive scoreless innings stretched to 24 until doubles by Wilson Betemit and Markakis made it 2-1 in the third.
After Hammel left in the fourth, Ayala retired the first two batters before giving up doubles to Alex Avila and Ryan Raburn.
NOTES: The Orioles activated OF Endy Chavez (hamstring) from the 15-day DL. OF Xavier Avery was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday. ... The Tigers recalled INF Danny Worth from Triple-A Toledo. RHP Jose Ortega was optioned to Toledo on Sunday. ... Showalter says 2B Brian Roberts is still weighing his options on how to deal with a groin injury that put him on the DL on July 3. One of those options is surgery. "It's a challenging decision for him," Showalter said. ... The Orioles agreed to terms with LSU pitcher Kevin Gausman, the No. 4 overall pick in the draft. He received a standing ovation after the third inning.