Power play: O's trump Zim's display with rally
Six-run seventh caps comeback after Nats third baseman homers thrice
BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis sent the fans home happy on the night the Orioles honored him.
In a six-run seventh, Davis launched a two-run home run -- his second of the game -- to cap a rally in the Orioles' 9-6 win over the Nationals on Wednesday night. The comeback was needed after Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit three home runs off starter Chris Tillman.
Before the game, Davis received a trophy, a check and watch in recognition of his April American League Player of the Month award. The team also gave fans orange "Crush Davis" T-shirts sporting his silhouette. During the game, Davis stated his case for earning the honors for a second consecutive month.
"It's fun," Davis said. "You're always working on things, whether you're locked or struggling. Just the consistent approach every day has helped me out, the routine. I heard for such a long time that routine was such a big part of this game. I've really found one that I like, and I've continued to do that every day."
Davis first homered in the fourth and singled twice to put an exclamation point on a month of May that has seen him hit .370 with 10 home runs, 10 doubles and 22 RBIs. He also has scored a run in eight consecutive games, the longest active streak in baseball.
"He's just been consistent," manager Buck Showalter said of Davis. "And when people are consistent in the way they live their life, they have a chance to be consistent in baseball and sports, too. He's in a good place in a lot of ways. ... We're proud of him and he's getting back what he's putting into it."
Davis' big offensive effort was sorely needed, because a night after the Nationals rocked rookie starter Kevin Gausman with a barrage of home runs, they brought the long ball act on the road, victimizing Tillman on Wednesday.
Tillman, who had six consecutive quality starts entering Wednesday, gave up four home runs total and was chased after just 4 2/3 innings, having allowed six earned runs. He was on the hook for the loss before the seventh-inning comeback, with Nick Markasis' RBI single giving the O's the lead.
Zimmerman got the scoring started for the Nationals in the first, when he hit a solo home run off Tillman with two outs. Zimmerman drove a 2-2 fastball to left-center field.
The home run extended Washington's streak to 74 consecutive series with at least one home run, the longest such streak in MLB.
But Zimmerman and the Nationals were just getting started. He would go on to homer twice more, and the rest of the Nationals' offense helped pile it on Tillman.
Orioles second baseman Ryan Flaherty, in the starting lineup fresh off being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, ripped an RBI double to the right-field corner that tied the score at 1 in the second.
Then Roger Bernadina hit his second home run of the season -- and his second in as many nights -- to put Washington back on top, 2-1. His home run traveled an estimated 406 feet and landed on Eutaw Street behind the right-field wall, so he'll get a plaque in the sidewalk to commemorate the blast.
Before Tillman could recover from Bernadina's homer, Zimmerman followed with his second of the night. He drove a 3-1 high fastball over the center-field wall to stretch the Nationals' lead to 3-1.
Davis led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run, cutting the lead to 3-2.
Denard Span extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI double to the right-field corner in the fifth inning. Danny Espinosa had singled before Span reached and advanced to second when Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy threw the ball into the home dugout.
After Bernadina grounded out to short, Zimmerman hit his third of the night on a 1-2 high fastball to plate Span and give Washington a 6-2 lead, its largest of the night. It was the first three-homer game against Baltimore since Evan Longoria did it Oct. 3, 2012. It was also the third three-homer game in Nationals history, matching Adam Dunn and Alfonso Soriano.
But the Orioles chipped away, starting with Markakis' solo home run in the sixth, which cut the lead to 6-3.
"There's just not a whole lot of panic," Showalter said. "I think they have a lot of faith in each other, they really do ... and I think our pitchers feel that way, too, if we can just get some zeros up there and get the momentum headed in the other way."
Flaherty singled in the seventh inning and scored when Pearce homered behind him to pull the Orioles within one run at 6-5. Then McLouth singled, which brought Manny Machado to the plate as the potential go-ahead run.
Machado doubled in McLouth and Markakis drove him in with an RBI single. Davis' two-run blast off Tyler Clippard capped the scoring.
"I'm trying to use his aggressiveness to my advantage," Clippard said. "I know he doesn't want a walk right there, and I did that the first two pitches. ... I just left it up and it was off the plate by a hair, but not enough, and that's on me. I just didn't execute the pitch like I needed to."
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he considered walking the hot-hitting Davis, but didn't because he liked what Clippard has done against left-handed hitters this season.
"They're hitting less than .100 off him and just one of those things," Johnson said. "Tough game. Tough one to take."
After the game, Davis was asked if he'd ask for another commemorative T-shirt night to help ensure his hot hitting continues.
"I mean, I didn't ask for this one, but I'm pretty excited about it," Davis said. "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."
Orioles reliever Steve Johnson earned the win after mopping up after Tillman. He pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to keep the O's within striking distance.
Closer Jim Johnson kicked his recent struggles to earn the save. He'd blown four of his past five opportunities entering Wednesday.