Davis, Orioles never felt the game was out of reach
BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis still had a half-box full of T-shirts next to his locker. A night that began with his acceptance of last month’s Player of the Month Award ended with his second home run and an exciting and unlikely Orioles comeback win.
The Orioles’ season is still a game away from being one-third complete, yet Johnson already has 19 home runs and 50 RBIs. After his 4-for-4 night, he’s batting .359.
Wednesday’s 9-6 win over the Nationals before a pulsating crowd of 39,129 at Oriole Park, seemed unimaginable less than an hour before when Ryan Zimmerman hit the third of his home runs off Chris Tillman.
The second of Davis’ home runs capped off a six-run seventh and gave the Orioles (29-24) the big win.
“That game could have easily gotten away from us,” Davis said.
Tillman gave up six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, and a career worst four home runs, and was nearly forgotten by the time the game was over.
Davis’ totals project to 57 home runs and 150 RBIs. Unimaginable.
“You can’t predict stuff like this,” Davis said.
“You always expect yourself to succeed and I think it’s a reward for hard work.”
The Orioles have four players batting over .300: Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Davis. They often hit in that order.
“One guy doesn’t have to carry the load,” Davis said.
The entertaining comeback was started by Markakis, who homered leading off the sixth.
Steve Pearce’s two-run home run off Jordan Zimmermann (8-3) started the uproar. Nate McLouth singled and Machado doubled to tie the score at 6. After Tyler Clippard relieved Zimmermann, Markakis’ RBI single gave the Orioles a 7-6 lead.
Two batters later, Davis, slammed a two-run shot, and the Orioles led 9-6.
“It was one of those situations where I didn’t know if they were going to pitch to me or not. I wasn’t sure. I don’t mean intentional walk. I mean if I was going to get anything to hit,” Davis said.
“I saw a heater my first pitch, and my eyes lit up. I almost threw out my back, I swung so hard. I told myself to relax and just take what they give me. He threw another good fastball right after that. He left a changeup up, and I’m glad he did.”
Steve Johnson (1-1) rescued Tillman, who allowed four home runs, three to Zimmerman and one to Roger Bernadina in 4 2/3 innings.
Tommy Hunter worked a perfect eighth. Jim Johnson rebounded from his four-run meltdown to retire all three batters in the ninth and pick up his 16th save.
For the sixth time in seven games, an Orioles starter failed to complete six innings, and for the second straight night, didn’t make it through five.
While the crowd was several thousand short of a sellout, it was easily the most enthusiastic and loudest of the season. They were treated to a hugely entertaining game.
Manager Buck Showalter enjoyed it so much he vowed to take a little extra time on his way home.
“I may take a little slower jaunt down Pratt. Put the governor on,” Showalter said.
Zimmerman, who had three homers in his first 137 at-bats, homered off the railing in front of the Nationals’ bullpen in left-center field in the first. After Bernadina hit his second home run in as many nights in the fourth, one that landed on Eutaw Street, Zimmerman followed with his fifth of the year. He added a three-run shot in the fifth for the Nationals (27-26).
The game featured eight home runs, three shy of the stadium record set in1994. On the first hot day of the season here, Showalter chuckled when asked if he liked it here when it was hot.
“I like it here, period, regardless of the weather. I know Zimmerman likes it," Showalter said
But, it was Davis who impressed his teammates.
“It’s crazy to watch that,” Machado said.
“I’m glad he’s on my side,” Tillman said.
Davis’ gaudy statistics will begin to attract attention around the country, from those who remember only as the guy who won a bizarre 17-inning game at Fenway Park with his assortment of pitches.
Now, he has those T-shirts, and after the game he was offering them around.
“I mean, I didn’t ask for this one, but I’m pretty excited about it. It’s definitely an honor to look at and see all these people wearing your shirt to know you have so many fans and so many people behind you. I was kind of in awe tonight, and the game I had tonight was an added bonus,” Davis said.
NOTES: In Thursday’s finale of the four-game home-and-home series, Freddy Garcia (1-2, 4.61) faces Dan Haren (4-5, 5.43).