O's slugger becomes fourth player to homer in fourth straight games to open season
Special to MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- It sounds a bit on the smart-aleck side, but this is a phrase that's very true: Chris Davis has had a very good month in the first four games of the 2013 season.
Davis continued his hot start with a go-ahead grand slam off Twins reliever Tyler Robertson in the bottom of the eighth that gave the Orioles a 9-5 victory in their home opener Friday. The first baseman finished the day with five RBIs, and Davis established a bit more history.
That line-drive homer to left on Robertson's first pitch sent the sell-out crowd of 46,653 into hysterics and was the fourth Davis homer of the season. He's also already knocked in 16 runs in the four games as the Orioles improved to 3-1.
Those 16 RBIs in four games breaks the old record (12) that three players held. Davis also became the first Oriole and only fourth player in Major League history to get a home run in four straight games to begin the season. Willie Mays (1971), Mark McGwire (1998) and Nelson Cruz (2011) are the other three. No player has ever gone deep in five straight games.
Since Bill Dickey did it with the Yankees in 1937, Davis is the first player to homer and drive in at least three runs in his team's first four games.
In addition, going back to 2012, Davis now has hit 11 homers in his last 11 regular-season games. He homered in six straight games -- starting on Sept. 26, 2012. It's the second grand slam of his career and he also tied a personal best with five RBIs. He also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly earlier in the 2-for-4 day that let Davis finish the first four games with a .600 average.
"I'm glad he's on our side," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "His contact-to-damage ratio is real good right now. Chris would be the focus [today], and rightfully so."
Davis has driven in at least three runs in all four games this season. He blasted three-run homers in the first two games against Tampa Bay, added a two-run shot Thursday before his grand slam in Friday's contest.
He's now two games away from the Orioles record (six) for consecutive games with an RBI to begin the season. Brooks Robinson and Mike Devereaux are tied with that record. Robinson, the Hall of Fame third baseman, drove in 12 runs at the start of 1966. Devereaux drove in eight runs in the first six games at the beginning of '99.
Davis is aware of the history from this club and said he's glad to be a part of it.
"It means a lot," he said. "There's a lot of great hitters that have come through here and played here. I'd say the biggest thing is the wins, as many as we can get as often as we can get them. We're playing some really good baseball."
The Twins were trying to hold on to a 5-4 lead in the eighth, when Nolan Reimold and Nate McLouth started the inning with singles off Casey Fien. Manny Machado then moved the runners up with a good sacrifice bunt before the Twins intentionally walked Nick Markakis to get to the very hot Adam Jones.
Jones lined a game-tying single to left that ended Fien's day. Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire brought in left-hander Robertson to face Davis. The move didn't work as Davis lined the first pitch to left to snap the 5-5 tie.
"Whatever he's done in these first four games has been historic," Jones said. "See ball, hit ball. It's hard, but that's what he's doing. He's comfortable. He's able to show up 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, he's in the lineup. I think that confidence at this level is a big help, and he's showing why we traded for him."
Davis just smiled when asked afterwards if there were any superstitions he used. There weren't any big secrets. Davis just feels very good right now, and it's why he's started so fast.
"I feel comfortable, kind of the same thing that was going on toward the end of last year," Davis said. "I felt like I was relaxed and being patient in the box, and that's the only thing I can really say about it. I don't feel like I'm doing anything magical. I feel comfortable. I feel like I'm being patient and taking what they give me."