(Sunday, April 8th)
Final Score: Baltimore 3, Minnesota 1
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Jason Hammel continued the Orioles' trend of excellent starting pitching to begin the 2012 season, taking a no-hit bid into eighth inning on Sunday en route to a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards.
Hammel (1-0) went eight solid innings, allowing one run on two hits while fanning five and walking three. Tommy Hunter gave up two earned runs in seven- plus innings on Saturday for the O's, and Jake Arrieta went seven shutout innings on Opening Day.
Hammel said he knew he had a no-hitter going.
"Once I got through the sixth, obviously I'm not scoreboard watching, but after a while you kind of realize, 'man, we're moving along here pretty quick.' I had been getting a lot of ground balls and my pitch count was down so I took a look. I pretty much knew it for the whole game, but the sixth inning it really set in."
Jim Johnson worked a perfect ninth for his second save of the season.
J.J. Hardy cracked a solo homer and Wilson Betemit added a two-run double for Baltimore, which completed a sweep of its season-opening series for the second consecutive year.
Justin Morneau broke up the no-hitter with a lead-off double in the eighth and Josh Willingham knocked in the only run with an RBI double for the Twins, who are off to an 0-3 start for the first time since 1981, when they started 0-4 and finished in last place in the AL West.
Anthony Swarzak (0-1) got the start for Minnesota in place of Liam Hendriks, who was scratched due to food poisoning, and gave up one run on four hits in five innings.
The Orioles jumped on top in the home half of the first inning after Hardy sent a fastball over the heart of the plate from Swarzak over the wall in left-center field to give the O's the early lead.
Baltimore extended its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth when Adam Jones led off the frame with a single and Nick Johnson was plunked two batters later. The Orioles then executed a perfect double steal, and Betemit followed with a two-run double into the gap in right-center field.
Morneau ripped a first-pitch changeup from Hammel off the right field wall for a double in the visitors half of the eighth and Willingham followed with a double down the left-field line to bring home Morneau.
"We left spring training swinging really well, it just didn't carry here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We just have to go home now and see if we can get some momentum going at home."
Swarzak had 11 starts among his 38 appearances last season and went 4-7 with a 4.32 ERA...Minnesota went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and stranded two men, while Baltimore was 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven...Jones finished with a pair of hits and a run scored for Baltimore...Game Time: 2:14.
04/08 20:29:25 ET