BALTIMORE (AP) — While it’s still too early to effectively assess the trade that sent Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom to Baltimore, it’s safe to say the Orioles couldn’t be more pleased with the performance of both pitchers to date.
Hammel pitched seven innings of four-hit ball and Lindstrom also played a part in Baltimore’s 3-0 shutout of the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
Wilson Betemit and Chris Davis homered for the Orioles, who are 4-1 against Toronto after going 6-12 last year. After limiting Toronto to one run on Tuesday, Baltimore became the first team this season to shut out the Blue Jays.
Hammel (3-0) struck out seven and walked one in lowering his ERA to 1.73 over four starts. The right-hander was dealt to Baltimore in February with Lindstrom in the trade that sent Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado.
“So far it’s good,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the trade. “Jeremy’s going to pitch real well over there. He already is. We look at it as quality for quality.”
Hammel has been brilliant thus far, and he hasn’t even fully adjusted to pitching in the AL.
“I am still learning a new league and seeing what everybody else is doing,” he said.
After Hammel departed, Lindstrom worked a perfect eighth. Hammel has given up only one run in two starts at Camden Yards and Lindstrom is unscored upon in his seven appearances this season.
“I knew when we came over here together what kind of pitcher the Orioles were getting out of him,” Lindstrom said of Hammel. “They can just kind of throw me in there as well.”
Pedro Strop got three outs for his second save in two nights as the replacement for closer Jim Johnson, who has been hospitalized since Monday with flu-like symptoms. Strop yielded two hits but effectively sealed Baltimore’s first shutout since Sept. 9, 2011, against Toronto.
Blue Jays starter Kyle Drabek (2-1) allowed two runs, five hits and three walks in six innings. He was aided by three double plays. But Drabek got little support from the Toronto offense. Yunel Escobar struck out three times, Kelly Johnson went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and the Blue Jays placed only three runners in scoring position.
“We have a great hitting club,” Drabek said. “Today we happened to not score anything. But I’m not worried.”
On this night, Hammel was just too good.
“You have a pitcher that’s 94, 95 (mph) with two breaking balls for strikes,” Toronto manager John Farrell said. “We’ll tip our cap to him tonight. We’re in a little bit of a dry patch right now, the last two nights, but I’m not going to take anything away from their ability to pitch and how they have executed in these first two games.”
Betemit committed an error at third base in each of the first innings, but made amends in the second by driving a 3-1 pitch over the center-field wall to put Baltimore up 1-0.
Held hitless over the first three innings, the Blue Jays used two singles and a walk to load the bases with two outs. Hammel then threw a 3-2 fastball past Corey Rasmus for his sixth strikeout.
In the bottom half, Davis hit an opposite-field drive to left on a 2-2 pitch. Both his home runs this season have come against Toronto.
The Orioles added a run in the eighth against Jason Frasor. Nick Markakis drew a two-out walk and scored on a double by Adam Jones.
NOTES: Toronto turned four DPs to raise its major-league leading total to 30 (in only 18 games). … Orioles 2B Robert Andino was placed on paternity leave to be with his wife, who gave birth to a girl on Wednesday. RHP Jason Berken replaced Andino on the 25-man roster. … Toronto rookie RHP Drew Hutchison makes his second career start Thursday in the series finale. Baltimore LHP Brian Matusz (0-3) vies for his first win since June 6, 2011. … Hammel improved to 4-0 lifetime against Toronto. … Baltimore’s Mark Reynolds snapped an 0-for-17 skid with an infield hit in the fifth and singled in the seventh.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)