BALTIMORE – Not many American Leaguers have hit 30 home runs before the end of June: Babe Ruth, Ken Griffey and now, Chris Davis.
Davis hit two home runs and drove in five as the Orioles enjoyed a rare blowout win, 11-3 over the New York Yankees before the second largest Oriole Park crowd of the year, 46,607.
He’s only the second Oriole that many home runs before the All-Star break. Brady Anderson hit 30 in 1996. DavisHe also has 79 RBIs.
“I think any time you score a lot of runs and are able to relax and enjoy the game, it’s a lot of fun and takes a lot of pressure off everybody,” Davis said.
Davis slammed a three-run home run in the first and a two-run homer in the fifth as the Orioles (46-36) took a 9-0 lead after three.
In three of their four previous games, the Orioles hadn’t had a hit in the early innings. They’d been no-hit in four, five and six innings. Curiously, they won two of those games and nearly won the third.
“A lot of that is due to the fact that we faced some pretty good pitching lately. We’ve been a little too aggressive, but I think tonight, you know, we straightened out our approach a little bit, and we were able to get to them early,” Davis said.
The Orioles have beaten New York (42-38) in five of eight games and have won back-to-back home series against them for the first time in more than five years.
Orioles fans, who far outnumbered Yankees fans, got to watch a rare blowout of their rival. Manager Buck Showalter believes the Orioles still have a long way to go to measure up against New York.
“It's a high bar. We've got a long way to go to do the things that they're doing and have done. Our guys really want to be a part of that. It's hard to do. That's why it's so gratifying if you can do it,” Showalter said.
The Orioles, who had lost five of six, have won three straight, and will seek their first three-game sweep of the season on Sunday night.
In the first, the Orioles scored four times against David Phelps (5-5). Manny Machado singled with one out. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones followed with base hits, and the Orioles led 1-0.
Davis hit a long three-run opposite field into the Orioles bullpen for a 4-0 lead.
The Orioles batted around in the first, and left runners on second and third.
They added five more in the third. With one out, Davis walked, Matt Wieters single and J.J. Hardy singled to load the bases. Chris Dickerson singled for two runs, and Ryan Flaherty homered to right for three more.
It was Flaherty’s sixth of the season, and gave the Orioles a 9-0 lead.
Phelps was removed after Flaherty’s home run. He threw 2 1/3 innings, allowing nine runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out one.
Zach Britton (2-2) was sailing along through five innings, and hard retired eight in a row. In the sixth, he walked Jayson Nix to lead off, Robinson Cano walked, and with one out, Ichiro Suzuki walked to load the bases. Zoilo Almonte’s fly ball scored Nix, and Lyle Overbay’s grounder to first was booted by Davis.
With the score 9-2, Jair Jurrjens replaced Britton, who went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs, one earned on six hits. He walked three and struck out one.
“You see how good he is at times,” Showalter said. “I think he wanted to get through that sixth inning, I could see it, but he just got out of sync a little bit. I was proud of him. He pitched well.”
Britton entered the game with an ERA of 7.82 against the Yankees, who are missing Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.
After watching his teammates score nine runs in two long innings, Britton was able to shut New York out in their next at-bats.
“Those are huge. You want to keep the momentum on your side.
Especially with a team like New York, they are missing some big guys but they are still a good team. So you want to get your offense back in the dugout as quickly as possible when they are on a tear like that,” Britton said.
Davis added his second home run of the game in the bottom of the sixth, a two-run shot, and it was 11-2.
Jurrjens pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and Pedro Strop allowed a run in the ninth.
NOTES: Chris Tillman (9-2, 3.72) faces Hiroki Kuroda (7-5, 2.77) on Sunday night at 8:05 p.m. It’s the Orioles’ first home Sunday Night Baseball telecast on ESPN in nearly eight years.