By Eduardo A. Encina
1:58 AM EDT, July 3, 2012
The campaign to vote Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel to the All-Star Game picked up steam Monday, with the hashtag #VoteHammel trending on Twitter.
Hammel is one of five AL players who can make the all-star team by online ballot. Voting ends Thursday, meaning Monday night’s game in Seattle was Hammel’s final opportunity to leave a lasting impression.
But elections are won with great supporting casts. And on Monday evening on a chilly night in the Pacific Northwest, Hammel got little help from his teammates.
The Orioles’ managed just three hits – none after the fourth inning – and their defense was rife with holes in a 6-3 loss to the Mariners in front of an announced crowd of 14,805 at Safeco Field.
"We scored three runs with three hits and that's not going to do the job," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's been a challenge for us and we've got to get better at that. We had some lapses on defense and that increased the pitch count for Hamm. He deserved to win that game. He pitched well enough to win."
The loss was the Orioles’ 10th in their last 12 games and sixth out of their last seven.
"You'd like to carry some momentum into the All-Star break, obviously," Hammel said. "Now, it's kind of a tough go. We just have to keep plugging along and finding a way. It's definitely frustrating for me because I did pitch so well and to give it up in the seventh, it really could have changed some momentum if we walk away with the win there."
The Orioles have won just three season series in 13 years here at Safeco Field, and Monday’s series opener – which opened the team’s two-city, seven-game West-Coast road trip -- took a quick turn for the worse.
Hammel battled deep into the game, but the Orioles defense – which leads the majors with 70 errors – didn’t help Hammel. At least three balls that weren’t ruled errors, including a dropped catch by second baseman Robert Andino on a steal attempt that extended what would become a three-run seventh inning, ended up foiling Hammel’s bid for his ninth win of the season
"I just dropped it," Andino said. "I should have caught it. I just dropped it. It came right in my glove. I should have caught it. For me, I should have caught that ball. It was probably the difference maker in the ballgame. My fault. I take the blame for that."
With the Orioles leading 3-1, Dustin Ackley drew a walk to lead off the seventh and in the next at bat broke to steal second base. Catcher Matt Wieters’ throw was there, but the ball popped out of Andino’s glove before he could make the tag.
That lost out proved to be costly when former Towson star Casper Wells hit a two-out, three-run triple to give the Mariners a 4-3 lead.
Hammel labored through the seventh, throwing four three-ball counts, two of them ending in walks.
His sixth was also extended when leftfielder Steve Pearce closed his glove too soon on John Jaso’s fly ball. It was ruled a double.
Chris Davis provided the only Orioles offense with a mammoth three-run homer in the fourth inning, his second home run in three games.
Davis crushed Mariners starter Hasashi Iwakuma’s 1-0 delivery, depositing a souvenir about 20 rows deep into the right-field seats.
Davis fell just a few feet short of homering in his first at-bat in the second inning, hitting an opposite-field double off the top of the left-field wall.
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