As has been said on numerous occasions by numerous people, Baltimore Orioles fans are seeing something truly historic with Chris Davis this season. In hitting his 34th home run of the season in last night’s 3-1 victory over Texas, Davis has reached a career high in homers – and we’re not even at the all-star break! It’s worth mentioning however that the break is a week later than it’s been in the past this year. However had it been at the normal spot, Davis would have had 33 homers; still on a massive pace.
However I think that Davis and his teammates are probably happier that his homer last night was one that helped the team win the game, and thus earn a 2-2 split with Texas in the four-game series. Miguel Gonzalez got the start and the win in the game; Gonzalez’s line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K. Davis got the scoring started in the last of the second with his homer, which gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Brian Roberts followed suit an inning later with a solo homer of his own, and the Birds led 2-0. The home run was Roberts’ first at Camden Yards since the home opener in 2011. Granted Roberts has never been a home run threat per se, however the fact that his bat is heating up after being out for so long is a good sign for the Orioles as they move towards the second half.
Gonzalez tossed five innings of scoreless ball before Ian Kinsler led off the sixth inning with a solo home run of his own, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 2-1. Nate McLouth came up in the last of the eighth with runners at first and second, and his RBI-single scored Matt Wieters and acted as an insurance run. However luckily it wasn’t an insurance run that the Birds necessarily needed, as Texas didn’t score in the ninth. Closer Jim Johnson did give up two hits, however the first was followed by a double-play and the second was followed by a ground out to end the game.
Texas has been a good team for quite some time, and with the way this series began I’d say splitting the series is quite an accomplishment. Last year these two teams played a four-game set at the yard and Texas took three-of-four (with Josh Hamilton famously hitting four home runs in one of the games). Of course the Orioles did win when it really counted last year, in the AL Wild Card game at Rangers Ballpark. As I said yesterday, the O’s will face Texas immediately out of the break down in Arlington next weekend, so hopefully they familiarized themselves with the Rangers.
The O’s will officially close out the first half this weekend with a series against the Toronto Blue Jays which opens tonight. Toronto of course swept the O’s a few weeks ago, in a series that featured a few moments of controversy between Jose Bautista and Orioles’ reliever Darren O’Day. Whether or not there’s any spillover into this series remains to be seen. Nevertheless Chris Tillman draws the starting assignment, and he’ll be opposed by Mark Buehrle.