Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy homered in the first inning to put the Orioles ahead 1-0, an advantage that the righthanded Hammel has been more than comfortable working with. Hammel has fanned three Minnesota batters and walked a pair, and only needed a miniscule 58 pitches to make it through the fifth.
For the Twins, despite such a small deficit that could be erased with one swing of the bat, being held hitless by a non-elite pitcher like this is bordering on the worst-case scenario for this organization so early in the season. The Twins needed to come out strong on Sunday to avoid dropping to 0-3, but it's clear that didn't happen. Power bats like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham will be counted on from the plate to sway the momentum in the coming innings, but it appears they will have to beat a locked-in Hammel to pull that off.