Hammel, Johnson Boost All-Star Chances as O'S Beat Nats

Jim MorisetteCorrespondent IIIJune 23, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 22:  Jason Hammel #39 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches during an interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 22, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

If any questions lingered regarding whether Baltimore Orioles’ hurlers Jason Hammel and Jim Johnson deserved to be All-Stars this year, those questions just walked through the valley of the shadow of death.

Hammel outdueled Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, and Johnson picked up his 21st save, as the Orioles beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 Friday night at Camden Yards.

Hammel surrendered one unearned run on five hits and 10 strikeouts in eight innings of work. With the victory, Hammel goes to 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA. Hammel also has 87 strikeouts to 29 walks and lowered his WHIP to 1.12.

Johnson’s numbers also continue to impress.

With Friday’s save, Johnson’s ERA shrinks to 1.14, as does his WHIP (0.66). The six-year veteran has surrendered just four earned runs this year and has not given up an earned run since June 5.

Johnson’s 21 saves are tied for second-best in baseball (Atlanta Braves' Kimbrel, 21 saves), two behind Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez.

For the Nationals, Zimmermann pitched an excellent game despite the loss. Zimmermann tossed eight strong innings, giving up two earned runs on eight hits.

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With the loss, Zimmermann goes to 3-6 with a 2.89 ERA.

Offensively, Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds got Baltimore on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning—his sixth of the year.

The Nationals tied the game in the top of the fifth inning when a throwing error by Reynolds allowed shortstop Ian Desmond to score.

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 22:  Mark Reynolds #12 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates hitting a solo home run in the second inning during an interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 22, 2012 in Baltimore,
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

But in the end, it was J.J. Hardy’s RBI double in the bottom of the frame that gave Baltimore the lead once and for all.

With the victory, the Orioles move to 40-30—1.5 games behind the AL East leading New York Yankees.

The Nationals fall to 40-28 but still hold a 2.5 game lead over the New York Mets in the NL East.

Baltimore and Washington square off again Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

Wei-Yin Chen (7-2, 3.36 ERA) will face Edwin Jackson (3-4, 3.02 ERA).

Related Orioles Articles:

Mark Reynolds Making Steady Progress in Strikeout Rehab

Buck Showalter's Team, Orioles Fans Beginning to Believe

5 O's Pitchers that Deserve to Make 2012 MLB All-Star Game

3 Starting Pitchers that Could Help Orioles Win AL East