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Hammel struggles as Orioles fall to Blue Jays 7-3

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DAVID GINSBURG | July 13, 2013 08:27 PM EST | AP


BALTIMORE — It's been seven weeks since Jason Hammel last won a game. At some point along the way, he lost his stature as ace of the Baltimore Orioles staff.

Hammel allowed six runs and 10 hits, and the Orioles wasted home runs by Chris Davis and Adam Jones in a 7-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

A year ago, Hammel emerged as the leader of the rotation. Lately, he's been its biggest disappointment.

The right-hander is 0-4 with a 5.59 ERA in eight starts since May 27 and has surrendered 19 home runs this season compared to nine all last year. He couldn't hold a 3-2 lead in this one, allowing the Blue Jays to rally with two runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh.

Asked to assess his performance, Hammel said, "Unacceptable. Far too many baserunners. Get behind the hitter. Fastball-hitting club that I am feeding fastballs. It's easy to hit when you know what's coming. I am not throwing sliders for strikes. Not throwing curveballs where I want them. Changeup is non-existent. I'm beating myself right now."

What to do?

"I've just got to get back to basics. I've been there before and it's very frustrating," he said. "I'm better than this. And it's on my shoulders. It's on nobody else's. It's fixable. I've just got to get out of my own way."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter expressed hope for the second half, in part because Hammel (7-6) was so good last year.

"He's pitched some good games. You can go back through that," Showalter said. "There are some things that didn't work out. But I think it bodes well for the rest of the season because he's capable of better and I think his best games are ahead of him."

Davis increased his major league-leading home run total to 36 with his third long ball in three games, a solo shot in the second inning. Reggie Jackson is the only player in AL history with more home runs before the All-Star break, hitting 37 in 1969.

Edwin Encarnacion hit his 25th homer and Maicer Izturis had three hits to help the Blue Jays secure their fourth win in 11 games.

Baltimore led 3-2 before the Blue Jays took the lead in the sixth. Singles by Adam Lind, Colby Rasmus and Izturis loaded the bases for J.P. Arencibia, who lined a two-run single to left.

Toronto pulled away in the seventh. Jose Bautista hit an RBI double, then Lind and Rasmus delivered run-scoring grounders.

Aaron Loup (4-3) got the victory with 1 1-3 innings of hitless relief. Loup followed starter Todd Redmond, who allowed three runs in four innings.

Casey Janssen, the last of five Blue Jays relievers, entered with one out in the ninth and struck out Nate McLouth and Manny Machado for his 18th save in 19 chances.

The game drew a crowd on 46,150, the fifth sellout of the season at Camden Yards. Baltimore won the previous four.

Hammel faced three batters before falling behind 2-0. Jose Reyes led off with a double, and Encarnacion hit a one-out drive over the center-field wall, his second homer in two games.

Davis hit an opposite-field homer to left on a full count in the second inning to get the Orioles within a run.

Baltimore went up 3-2 in the fourth. After Jones opened the inning with his 18th home run, Redmond hit Davis with a pitch and Brian Roberts delivered a two-out RBI double off the right-field wall.

The Orioles got only three hits the rest of the way.

NOTES: Toronto's J.A. Happ, who was hit in the head by a line drive on May 7, returned to the mound and pitched three innings in the Gulf Coast League on Saturday. He allowed four hits and no earned runs. ... Baltimore's Scott Feldman (0-1) will go against Toronto's Josh Johnson (1-4) in Sunday's finale. Feldman is 0-4 lifetime against the Blue Jays. ... Jones received two walks in a game for the first time this season.