It's a hit! Chris Davis ends hitless streak

April 13th, 2019

BOSTON -- It’s over. The streak is over.

snapped his historic skid of 62 consecutive plate appearances without a hit on Saturday with a two-run single to right field off Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello in the first inning of the Orioles' 9-5 win over Boston at Fenway Park.

It was Davis' first hit since Sept. 14 of last year. He had gone hitless in 54 consecutive at-bats.

“Obviously I’ve been looking forward to it for a while,” Davis said. “But there’s no way to really put into words kind of what I was feeling really when I looked back at our bench and saw the guys going crazy.”

The Orioles broke out into a frenzy of cheers when Davis landed safely at first base. They banged their helmets in the dugout to show support.

“We were jumping up for joy like we got the hit,” left fielder Dwight Smith Jr. said.

The celebration didn’t end there. Davis’ teammates pounded on their lockers as he entered the clubhouse.

“He came in with his fists up in the air,” third baseman Rio Ruiz said. “It was great. For him to go through that, I don’t think he’d wish that on anybody.”

Davis had been looking forward to Saturday’s at-bats after lining out in a ninth-inning pitch-hit appearance on Friday, which he battled to a full count. Manager Brandon Hyde sat him against Boston lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, but called on him late to face right-hander Ryan Brasier.

“I feel like I had a good at-bat,” Davis said Friday. “Obviously didn’t get a hit, didn’t get on base. So we’ll do it again tomorrow.”

Just more than 12 hours later, Davis did what he has been trying to do since last season.

“I have all the respect in the world for Rick,” Davis said. “He’s a great pitcher, and he actually made a pretty good pitch. Thankfully, it just found some grass.”

The RBI single -- Davis' 11th career hit off Porcello -- not only drove in Trey Mancini and Smith, it prompted an ovation around Fenway Park. Davis may have put the Red Sox in an early 2-0 hole, but the fans seemed to appreciate his arduous journey to Saturday.

This was cause for jubilee for Orioles fans, too. Baltimore-area businesses had geared up for this occasion with promotions for free drinks and corn dogs, among other perks. In fact, there was widespread cheer around the league.

“It was cool, and I appreciate all the support,” Davis said. “Walking up to the plate last night pinch-hitting, I heard Red Sox fans cheering me, saying, ‘This is your day; this is it.’”

Davis carried the momentum from his first-inning hit throughout the game. After grounding out to first base in the second inning, he doubled on a line drive to right field off Heath Hembree and scored Renato Nunez in the third. Davis reached first off a fielder’s choice in the sixth and capped his comeback day with a fly-ball double to left field off Tyler Thornburg in the eighth. His last hit of the game had an exit velocity of 101.2 mph, according to Baseball Savant.

While Davis hadn’t been connecting for hits, he had been making contact and getting good looks during his streak. Friday’s pinch-hit had a .970 expected batting average.

Davis did his best to stay optimistic about his work while facing the reality of the results. “Almosts” can only be of so much consolation.

“I tried not to let it dominate my thoughts, but it was hard,” Davis said. “Especially the last few days when I really felt better at the plate, and felt like I was in a good place and still wasn’t seeing any return.”

Leading up to Saturday’s game, Davis had what he described as “probably the worst BP round in the history of baseball.” He took it as a good sign.

Hyde believed Davis’ time was near, too, based on what he saw on and off the field.

“I loved his at-bat yesterday,” Hyde said. “I could tell he was in a better place mentally. It was just a matter of time, and good thing it happened today.”

Now Davis can get back to business as usual. He plans to authenticate the game ball, but doesn’t want to dwell on the streak much more than that. The questions of when he will snap the skid and how he’s dealing with the struggle can end. He can focus on baseball and each chance to make his mark at the plate.

“We can turn the page now and really focus on the team,” Davis said. “I hate when one guy’s singled out, especially when it’s something negative. We’ve done so many positive things this season already that my ‘0-for’ was kind of overshadowing that, so I’m glad it’s behind us.”