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Hammel’s best game isn’t enough without support from A’s

Jason Hammel had his best start yet with the A's Tuesday, but wound up without enough support.

Jason Hammel had his best start yet with the A’s Tuesday, but wound up without enough support.

There’s no doubt Jason Hammel hasn’t done as much for the A’s he, or they, would have hoped.

The other side of the coin is that the A’s haven’t done all that much for Hammel, either, including Tuesday when they scored two runs in a 4-2 loss, Hammel allowing just one run in seven innings.

It was the eighth start for the right-hander, acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 4, and in those eight games the A’s have scored 17 runs. That’s barely two runs per game.

If the A’s were somewhere closer to their season average of 4.8 runs per game when he pitches, Hammel’s record might look a little better that 1-5.

   Tuesday was clearly the right-hander’s best start with the A’s. He went seven innings, allowing three hits, one of those a Dexter Fowler solo homer that came when the A’s were up 2-0. Hammel left with a 2-1 lead, and that should have been enough. It wasn’t.

Manager Bob Melvin called it “the best game we’ve seen from him,’’ and left fielder Jonny Gomes said Hammel “was awesome.’’

“I’m sure his last start here (eight runs, 4.1 innings on July 30) was on his mind,’’ Gomes said. “Maybe that little bit of extra rest he had helped. Hammel a heck of a pitcher, you know. He thrown the ball hard, and he has that big hook. That plays. His start tonight it was A-plus.’’

Hammel was happy with how he pitched, if not with the result.

“That was probably the best since I’ve been here,’’ Hammel said. “I was throwing with conviction. I was being aggressive and getting ahead of guys. And I had pretty good defense, too. They made spectacular plays that should have been hits.’’

Hammel said he’d been throwing the ball “instead of just delivering it,’’ and he’d gotten that straightened out when he got skipped in the rotation coming into this start.

Melvin said that he hoped this was the start of good things for Hammel who both got the ball down and kept it on the outside corner.

“That’s about as well as he’s pitched, certainly in the later innings,’’ the manager said of Hammel. “And that’s going to be good for his confidence, because he’s going to have some big starts for us down the stretch.’’

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.