ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Chris Davis remains on pace to hit 162 home runs this season.
Davis muscled up again today in the top of the second inning, launching a changeup from Rays starter Robert Hernandez over the fence in right-center field to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.
Adam Jones led off with a single and Davis homered for the third time in three games. He’s homered in his last 10 regular-season games.
Davis is now 6-for-9 with two doubles, three homers and nine RBIs.
The Orioles may have to drag him onto the team charter tonight. And trust me, it’s going to take more than one of them.
Update: Hernandez drilled Davis on the right hip in the fourth inning after Jones singled with one out and stole second base. Doubt that it was intentional with Matt Wieters on deck and the Rays trailing 2-0, but a few eyebrows must have been raised in the Orioles’ dugout.
Davis is the first Oriole to hit 10 home runs in a 10-game span, and the second to homer in his first three games. Frank Robinson did it in 1966.
Anyone think Davis will win the Triple Crown?
Jones, by the way, is 2-for-2 today and 6-for-11 in this series. He’s gotten a hit in his first at-bat in each game, and the next batter has homered.
Miguel Gonzalez has faced the minimum number of batters through three innings despite two walks. He got a double play in the first and a caught stealing in the second.
Update II: Gonzalez didn’t allow a hit until Evan Longoria grounded a ball up the middle leading off the bottom of the fifth. Gonzalez reached for it and second baseman Brian Roberts dived for it. They both came up empty.
Yunel Escobar singled with one out, the ball deflecting off Gonzalez, and James Loney singled up the middle to score Longoria and cut the Orioles’ lead to 2-1.
Gonzalez hadn’t allowed a run at Tropicana Field in 17 1/3 career innings.
Escobar’s ball appeared to hit Gonzalez in the lower left leg. He took a few warmup tosses and stayed in the game, but he couldn’t stay on the same roll.
Jose Molina followed with an RBI single, also up the middle, to tie the game and bring pitching coach Rick Adair to the mound. Troy Patton began warming in the bullpen.
Ryan Roberts grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Manny Machado made a nice pickup at third, spun and threw to second base to get it started.
Gonzalez has thrown 76 pitches, 50 for strikes.
Update III: Well, Davis has done it again.
He didn’t hit a home run in the sixth inning, but his two-run double gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead and increased his RBI total to 11 in this series.
Davis is 7-for-10 with three doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs.
The rally started with a one-out walk to Nick Markakis. Jones singled, making him 3-for-3 today and 7-for-12 in this series, and they both scored on Davis’ double to left-center field.
Hernandez issued an intentional walk to Wieters. A fan at The Trop yelled, “You’re walking the wrong guy!”
Update IV: Gonzalez goes 6 1/3 innings and allows two runs and five hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches, 63 strikes.
Darren O’Day replaced him after Shelley Duncan’s one-out single and retired the next two batters on line drives. Machado made a sensational diving catch to rob Loney.
Gonzalez has allowed two runs in 19 2/3 career innings at The Trop.
Update V: J.J. Hardy’s two-run homer in the eighth, which followed Wieters’ single, increased the Orioles’ lead to 6-2.
Brian Matusz will pitch the bottom of the eighth, as the Orioles try to take two of three games in this series.
From Elias: Before Davis, the last major league player with 11 RBIs in the first three games was Philadelphia’s Dolph Camilli with 12 in 1935.