BALTIMORE (AP) Nolan Reimold played in only 16 games last season, so he can be forgiven for needing a little time to get back in the swing of things with the Baltimore Orioles.
On Saturday, Reimold showed just how good he can be when healthy and playing at his best.
Reimold homered and hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth inning as the Orioles rallied to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-5 in the first game of a split-doubleheader.
Surgery on a herniated disc put an abrupt end to Reimold’s 2012 season, and he understandably got off to a drab start this year. But he’s hit home runs in two straight games, and the left fielder doubled his RBI total with three on Saturday.
“He gave us a big lift today,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
With the score tied at 5 in the eighth, Chris Davis hit a one-out double off Paco Rodriguez (0-1) and Ronald Belisario walked J.J. Hardy on four pitches. After a passed ball and an intentional walk loaded the bases, Reimold sliced an opposite-field liner down the right field line.
“I challenge anybody to stand up there and try to hit that ball down the right field corner,” Showalter said.
Reimold said: “It feels good. It’s been a slow start to the year. I had nowhere to go but up, so it’s good to put together a big win and feel like I contributed to it.”
Playing in Baltimore for the first time since 2002, the Dodgers took a 4-0 lead in the second inning. But South Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu couldn’t hold the advantage, and Los Angeles ended up absorbing its fifth straight loss.
Darren O’Day (2-0) got two outs in the eighth and Jim Johnson worked a perfect ninth for his seventh save.
Hardy homered and drove in three runs for the Orioles, and Davis had three hits and scored three runs.
“That was a really good game for us,” Showalter said.
Andre Ethier hit a three-run homer for the Dodgers, whose five-game skid is their longest since a seven-game run last June.
The game was a makeup of Friday night’s rainout. This is the Dodgers’ only visit to Baltimore this season.
Ryu gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out six.
“I can’t really make any excuses. I wish the outcome was better,” he said through a translator. “But I’ll come back and do better next time. I’ll just consider it a big learning experience.”
Orioles starter Jason Hammel also went six innings, allowing four runs and seven hits.
Baltimore went ahead 5-4 with a two-run sixth. Matt Wieters singled and Davis doubled before Hardy hit a sacrifice fly and Steve Pearce followed with an RBI single.
Los Angeles used a walk, a single by Matt Kemp and a wild pitch to pull even in the seventh against Pedro Strop, whose ERA ballooned to 11.81.
After Mark Ellis and Kemp singled with one out in the first inning, Hammel retired cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez on a fly to left. As soon as Ethier connected with the next pitch, there was no doubt where it was headed. The drive was the 67th in the history of Camden Yards to land on Eutaw Street beyond the right field wall.
The homer doubled Ethier’s RBI total for the season and upped his career batting average against Hammel to .375 (9 for 24).
A sacrifice fly by Ellis made it 4-0 in the second.
Coming into the game, left-handers were 0 for 13 against Ryu. But the first two lefties he faced got singles – Nick Markakis in the first inning and Davis in the second ahead of Hardy’s homer to left.
Reimold’s homer made it 4-3 in the fourth. Los Angeles loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth before Hammel struck out former Oriole Ramon Hernandez.
NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter would have preferred to play Friday night, but a relentless rain prevented it from happening. “We wanted to play. Doubleheaders are not good anytime, especially when you’re playing 20 days in a row,” Showalter said … Los Angeles fell to 5-2 against Baltimore in interleague play and 17-50 in AL ballparks since 2005. … Gonzalez, who came in 7 for 14 with runners in scoring position, went 0 for 2 in that situation and stranded four. … Markakis has at least one hit in 14 of his 16 games.