Davis sets career highs, Gonzalez’s streak and mishaps in middle (O’s win 3-1)

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis must be feeling better.

Or maybe he doesn’t have time for the pain.

Davis, still playing despite a sinus infection, snapped an 0-for-17 streak with a home run in the second inning to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead over the Rangers.

Davis also had been 1-for-24 with 13 strikeouts before the at-bat. His last home run was July 6 off the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte.

OK, that’s not much of a dry spell, but he was struggling at the plate before unloading against former Orioles farmhand Ross Wolf.

Davis’ 34 home runs and 86 RBIs are career highs, and it’s only July 11. He has tied Boog Powell’s club record for most RBIs before the break, set in 1969.

The Orioles have won the last 11 home games started by Miguel Gonzalez dating back to Aug. 10, 2012, the fourth-longest streak by one of their starters since 1954, according to STATS.

Mike Flanagan started 16 consecutive home wins from July 17, 1982-May 17, 1983, and 15 straight from June 4, 1979-May 7, 1980. Mike Cuellar started 14 straight home wins from June 20, 1970-April 18, 1971.

Gonzalez is headed in the right direction again tonight with three scoreless innings.

Gonzalez, trying for his seventh consecutive quality start, retired the Rangers in order in the first inning on 14 pitches. He set down the first two Rangers in the second before Mitch Moreland reached on an infield hit, a scorching ground ball deflecting off second baseman Brian Roberts’ glove and bouncing toward shortstop J.J. Hardy. Gonzalez was back in the dugout after 17 pitches.

In the third, David Murphy lined to left field, Leonys Martin struck out and Ian Kinsler flied to left. Gonzalez threw 11 pitches, upping his total to 42.

Now, here’s where it could get tricky. Or downright dangerous.

The Orioles have a run differential of plus-43 in innings one through three. They have a run differential of plus-30 in innings seven through extras.

It’s the middle that’s menacing for them.

The Orioles have been outscored by 50 runs in innings four through seven. We’re entering the bottom of the third.

Stay tuned.

Gonzalez is 4-1 with a 2.68 ERA in his last six starts over 40 1/3 innings. His streak of six consecutive quality starts is tied with Chris Tillman for the longest by an Oriole this season.

Update: Brian Roberts led off the bottom of the third with his first Camden Yards home run since the home opener in 2011.

Orioles 2, Rangers 0

More on Davis: His 34 home runs are tied with Frank Howard for the third-most in American League history before the break, trailing Reggie Jackson (37 in 1969) and Ken Griffy Jr. (35 in 1998).

Gonzalez retired the side in order in the fourth on only seven pitches. He’s allowed one hit, walked none and struck out two in four scoreless innings.

Update II: Gonzalez stranded two runners in the fifth and carried a shutout into the sixth before Kinsler led off with a home run, reducing the Orioles’ lead to 2-1.

Gonzalez has allowed 10 runs in the sixth in his 16 starts, the most of any inning.

Nelson Cruz singled with one out, but Adrian Beltre bounced into a 6-4-3 double play.

Gonzalez has thrown 91 pitches, 60 for strikes.

Update III: Gonzalez walked Jurickson Profar with two outs in the sixth and walked off the mound to a standing ovation.

Troy Patton replaced Gonzalez and struck out David Murphy.

Gonzalez turned in his seventh consecutive quality start, longest by an Oriole this season. He allowed one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings, with two walks, four strikeouts and one home run. He threw 104 pitches, 66 for strikes.

Gonzalez has 12 quality starts out of 16 this season.

Update IV: Nate McLouth delivered a big insurance run with a two-out RBI single in the eighth, and Jim Johnson recorded his 31st save in the Orioles’ 3-1 victory before 21,857.

Johnson surrendered singles to Adrian Beltre, who’s 5-for-8 against him, and Mitch Moreland. But Beltre was wiped out on a double play before Moreland came to the plate.

Darren O’Day stranded the potential tying run at second base in the top of the eighth.

The Orioles managed to split this four-game series and improved to 51-42. They’ve won the last 12 home games started by Gonzalez.

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