O's Davis goes deep into the night to thwart Astros
BALTIMORE -- A struggling Orioles offense got a huge lift from Chris Davis Wednesday night as the slugger homered twice to power Baltimore to a 5-4 victory and a series win over the Astros.
Davis turned in his first multi-homer game of the season, going deep for a two-run homer in the fourth and a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the eighth off Houston reliever Tony Sipp after the Astros had rallied to tie the game with three runs in the seventh.
"There's a challenge around every corner here at this level," O's manager Buck Showalter said of taking two out of three games from an Astros club off to the best start in franchise history. "It's not that you don't have any other choice, you just trust the good people who have a track record and are grinding and working and trying to get back to the level we know they're capable of and sometimes it's not. ... You've got to keep fighting to get to the end game."
Houston got a two-run blast from Evan Gattis (3-for-4) and Colby Rasmus went 3-for-4. Astros starter Collin McHugh went six innings and allowed four runs on nine hits and wound up with a no-decision.
"He made some pitches that were hittable," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Sometimes they do a good job, too. It's not just about what McHugh doesn't do or what our players don't' do. Sometimes those guys over there put together pretty good at-bats, even at the end. We see Davis foul that ball off, we see Davis pop up, we see Davis hit a homer. It's more about what they did to put together a quality inning."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Davis finds his power stroke: Davis, who entered the game with just eight home runs, came up big. The slugger's pair of homers, which marked the eighth multi-homer game of his career, twice gave the O's the lead and could signify a turnaround for the notoriously streaky hitter. "That was a nice especially [since] he's one of the best teammates that we have in the clubhouse," said starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who went seven innings. "He's grinding every at-bat. He's working to support the team, so we're happy for him." More >
Gattis comes through in the clutch: The Astros, who were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position through six innings, used more of their late-inning magic once again when they struck for three runs in the seventh, capped by a two-run homer off the bat of Gattis. The homer came after Preston Tucker beat out what would have been an inning-ending double-play ball, driving in a run from third base. More >
"You know, we've got a good lineup," Gattis said. "And we strike out a lot, but we swing at a lot of good pitches and take a lot of bad pitches."
O's have some fun in the fourth: A Baltimore offense that had scored just seven runs in 43 innings finally broke out for a four-run fourth. Things got started on a double steal that saw Jimmy Paredes swipe home for the Orioles for the first time since Aug. 28, 2014. More >
"That's always exciting, no matter how many runs you've been scoring," Showalter said. "I'd like to think other things would have happened afterward if we hadn't. Our two players, Adam [Jones] and Jimmy, executed the play perfectly. Hats off to them. That's how it all came about, because they executed it perfectly."
Davis went deep on the next pitch and Steve Pearce followed for the O's first back-to-back homers of the year. Baltimore had five hits off McHugh in the inning.
"Thought I did a better job of making an adjustment and making him throw it in the zone. That's big not just for me but for everyone in the lineup," Davis said. "I think the reputation on this team is out. A lot of teams are changing speed earlier in the count and trying to get us to chase."
Astros bullpen suffers rare loss: The Astros, who entered Wednesday ranked second in the Major Leagues in bullpen ERA at 2.10, saw left-handed reliever Tony Sipp give up the go-ahead run when Davis crushed the first pitch Sipp threw for a long homer. Sipp replaced Josh Fields, who had sent down all four batters he faced.
"He's a guy with power and you've got to hit your spots and he'll make you pay, and he did just that," Sipp said. More >
"With Buck, it's never out of the question to do something like that. When I saw Adam take off and I saw the throw go down to second, I took my eyes off the second baseman or the shortstop and I looked at Jimmy so I didn't really see what the shortstop did. But Jimmy did a great job of getting to the outside and getting his hand in. ... Little things like that can put the momentum back in the team's dugout." -- Davis on the Orioles' double steal
"You want to have a winning road trip. It's too bad we didn't. We battled hard in every game. I thought we played well in every game. We didn't play perfectly; we don't have to. I love the way our guys compete and I'm proud of the effort of our guys. A well-deserved day off tomorrow and a nice homestand. Get home to Houston and continue playing well." -- Hinch after his team went 3-4 on a road trip to Detroit and Baltimore, including three one-run losses
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Oriole reliever Brad Brach took the win with a scoreless eighth and improved to 3-0 on the season. Brach is 10-1 since joining the O's last season.
"Brad's not going to pass on an opportunity," Showalter said. "When you've been through some of the things he's been through, you know how things can change and how fleeting they are for all of us in baseball and in life in general."
Astros: The Astros are off Thursday before returning home to face the White Sox at 7:05 p.m. CT Friday at Minute Maid Park, where they've won seven of their last eight games. Rookie right-hander Lance McCullers will make his third career start and first at home. He picked up his first career win Saturday in Detroit.
Orioles: Baltimore will play a straight-through doubleheader starting at 1:05 p.m. ET on Thursday, making up a pair of postponed games against the White Sox. The O's will start Tyler Wilson followed by Mike Wright in Game 2. Chicago will counter with Chris Sale and Chris Beck, who is making his Major League debut.
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