BOSTON (AP) — Jason Hammel learned a valuable lesson the hard way last year. Now, he's taken that knowledge and turned it into early-season success.
Hammel continued his strong start this season by going 6 2-3 solid innings and Mark Reynolds hit a 3-run homer, helping the Orioles send the Boston Red Sox to another Fenway Park failure with an 8-2 win on Saturday.
"I really decided that end of last year it was really time to make an adjustment," said Hammel, acquired from the Colorado Rockies in an offseason trade. "I was getting my teeth knocked in for about four years straight and I decided it was time to make an adjustment. I went down to the bullpen in Colorado and focused on pitching there, learned how to pitch."
Hammel (4-1) limited the Red Sox to a pair of first-inning hits and held them scoreless until he gave up two runs in the seventh. The right-hander gave up two runs, four hits, struck out eight and walked one, slightly raising his impressive ERA to 2.09 from 1.97.
"Boy, he pounded the strike zone with good stuff," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "He's doing the things that give him a chance to win the game."
Last year, Hammel made 25 starts before being demoted to the bullpen in mid-August, but in September he gave up only four earned runs in 20 innings.
On Saturday, Hammel retired 16 of 17 batters, allowing only David Ortiz's fourth-inning walk after the hits in the first before Adrian Gonzalez reached on an infield hit and scored on Ryan Sweeney's RBI double.
Adam Jones added a two-run homer for Baltimore, which won its fourth straight and 10th in the last 12 games.
Baltimore goes for the three-game sweep against the Red Sox on Sunday after taking two of three from the Yankees in New York.
"These last few years teams have always taken advantage of us," Jones said. "Now, we've got a series, but I think we need to sweep. We need to be hungry, keep the momentum going."
Gonzalez had three hits for Boston, which lost its fourth straight and has dropped nine of its last 10 games at Fenway.
"We've just got to come back and play better," Ortiz said. "It's not magical."
The Orioles knocked out starter Aaron Cook (0-1) after 2 2-3 innings and built an 8-0 lead after three. Cook, signed as a minor league free agent in January, was making his first start after Josh Beckett was skipped due to soreness.
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