Jason Hammel tossed eight outstanding innings on Friday as the Baltimore Orioles edged the Beltway-rival Washington Nationals, 2-1, in the opener of a three-game interleague series at Camden Yards.
Hammel (8-2) allowed one unearned run on five hits, matched a career-high with 10 strikeouts and did not issue a walk to earn the victory. Jim Johnson worked around a two-out walk in the ninth to nail down his 21st save of the season.
"It can't really get too much better than that for me," Hammel said of his effort on the mound. "I just came at them with two-seamers, made them swing and put it in play."
Mark Reynolds laced a solo home run and J.J. Hardy added an RBI double for the Orioles, who snapped a three-game skid.
Jordan Zimmermann (3-6) took the loss after allowing two runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts over seven innings. Ian Desmond went 2-fo-3 with a run scored for Washington, which has dropped five of its last seven contests.
"My slider was terrible, it was just spinning," Zimmermann said. "The fastball command wasn't that good. I had runners on almost every inning and really had to battle tonight."
Baltimore broke a 1-1 tie in the home half of the fifth to take the lead for good. Nick Johnson was hit by a pitch with one out in the inning, went first- to-third on a single by Brian Roberts and scored on a double to left by Hardy.
Desmond and Danny Espinosa stroked back-to-back one-out singles in the seventh to put the tying run in scoring position, but Hammel battled back and fanned Roger Bernadina before getting Jesus Flores to line out to Hardy at shortstop, ending the threat.
In the ninth, Jim Johnson induced a fly out from Adam LaRoche and a groundout from Michael Morse before walking Desmond to put the tying run on base. Espinosa followed and ripped a line drive back toward the mound, but it was snared by Johnson to preserve the victory.
Earlier, the Orioles struck first in the second inning when Reynolds squared up a fastball from Zimmermann with two outs in the frame and sent it over the wall in left for his sixth home run of the season.
Desmond began the Washington fifth with a single. Benadina followed and sent a sharp grounder to third. Orioles third baseman Wilson Betemit fired across to Reynolds for the out, and the first baseman threw back to third, trying to cut down Desmond. The throw, though, went into left field, which allowed Desmond to score the tying run.
The O's kicked off a nine-game, 10-day homestand in which they will also face the Angels and Indians...Baltimore improved to 10-6 in interleague play this season, while the Nationals fell to 9-7 against the American League...Baltimore took two of three from the Nationals at Nationals Park May 18-20...The O's finished 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six on base, while the Nats went 0-for-4 with men in scoring position and stranded six.