As brutal as it was watching the Baltimore Orioles batter the Detroit Tigers and the team’s pitchers into the ground, while winning their second game in a row in this series, Chris Davis emerged as the current star of the 2013 baseball season with a two-home run game, looking like the hardest player to throw against at the moment in both leagues.
David began the day with a two-run homer in the 4th inning, which signaled the beginning of a very pleasing day for Orioles batter, eventually scoring 13 on Rick Porcello (6 innings, 9 hits, 6 runs), Darin Downs (0.1 innings, 2 runs), Evan Reed (1.2 innings, 1 run), and Jose Valverde (1 inning, 5 hits, 4 runs).
Davis also closed the game with another two-run homer, setting the score on 13-3, finishing with 3-of-5 and 5 RBIs, adding another earned run with a ground rule double in the 7th, as the Orioles continued demolishing anyone who was in front of them.
At the moment, Chris Davis’ OPS+ is at 195, putting him at fifth among all AL players in the Wild Card era. With 26 home runs and 23 doubles this season (and we’re still in June), he joins Lou Gehrig in 1927 as the only players in MLB history to have at least 26 HR and 23 doubles through their first 72 games.
Davis was actually having a weak June until a week ago, in the closing game of the series against the Los Angeles Angels. Up until that point, he had only one home run in the first 10 games this month, hitting only .231. But then June 12 happened, and since then he’s gotten right back on track, just like he was as the season began and in late May. In the last eight games, Davis has hit six home runs with 14 RBIs, and hitting at .353.
With the win, the Orioles won their seventh series of the season, improving to 42-31, putting them 1.5 games behind the Red Sox and two ahead of the depleted New York Yankees. They managed their big win over the Tigers (taking a second series against Detroit) despite their stating pitcher, Chris Tillman, struggling for most of the game.
Tilly wasn’t carrying his usual stuff. It was a credit to him to get through five-plus.
Tillman allowed 7 hits and 5 walks during his time on the field, including two singles and a walk in the first, but didn’t get scored upon until the 4th because Austin Jackson was caught stealing second and Victor Martinez struck out to end the inning withMiguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder on base. In all, the Tigers left 10 men on base, hitting 2-of-9 in situations with runners in scoring position.
So Tillman got the win, improving to 8-2 this season, not to mention becoming the third pitcher in franchise history to win his first six decisions on the road, joining Jeff Ballard (1989) and Hoyt Wilhelm (1959).
Next up for the Orioles is a visit to Toronto for three games, and if Davis and the rest of the team (2nd in runs, 4th in batting average with .274, 10th in OBP with .325 and first in slugging with .455) keep hitting like they’ve had for most of this season, there’s no reason why they won’t overtake the Red Sox pretty soon.