It was a glorious Easter Sunday for the Baltimore Orioles as Jason Hammel had a no-hitter going through seven innings, and they defeated the Minnesota Twins, 3-1, to earn a series sweep.
Right now, the Orioles are 3-0 on the season and are tied for first place in American League East with the Tampa Bay Rays. For a team that was expected to be bad and see their pitching struggle, so far the Orioles have gotten one impressive performance on the mound after another.
On Sunday, it was Hammel’s turn. He went eight strong innings, gave a up a run, and retired 21 hitters in a row before Justin Morneau lined a double – that Nick Markakis inexplicably misplayed.
Newly acquired from the Rockies in a trade for Jeremy Guthrie, the fans at Camden Yards gave Hammel nothing but love after giving up the hit. Josh Willingham plated him in a few moments later; however, the significance of the day was not lost on anyone.
It had to be one of the finest performances by an Oriole pitcher that I’ve seen in a long time.
Baltimore once again got timely hits as J.J. Hardy’s homer – a solo shot - in the first inning gave them a 1-0 lead, and Wilson Betemit’s two-run double in the sixth innings raised the score to 3-0.
That being said, Hammel didn’t need much more on the offensive front by the Orioles.