This and that

Chris Davis reached base last night on a bunt single.

I could hear fans everywhere rejoicing. Locking arms and dancing in circles. And still wondering why he didn't do it in extra innings with the winning run on third base.

It's one way to beat the shift, though opposing managers gladly will let a guy who hit 53 home runs last season square up and do his best Mickey Rivers impression.

davis-smile-black-sidebar.jpgDavis now has one career bunt hit. That's it. Maybe that's why he's not inclined to try it with the game on the line. He does, however, have 28 infield singles.

Last night's bunt produced the 600th hit of his career - just as he imagined it, I'm sure.

Davis initially was called out at first base, but the Orioles won their fifth challenge in nine tries. The review took all of 27 seconds.

The Orioles lead the majors with 15 home runs this month. They're 14-8 against the American League East and lead the majors in wins versus the division.

Orioles starters have allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of the last 11 games, posting a 1.57 ERA in 51 2/3 innings. So, is the rotation a concern or not?

Meanwhile, will the real Chris Tillman please stand up.

And make sure you're standing straight so we know that your groin is fine.

But seriously...

Last night, Bud Norris turned in the Orioles' fourth start of eight innings or more this season. Tillman has registered the other three. However, he's failed to record an out in the second inning in two of his last four starts.

It happened again Thursday night against the Rangers, leaving his ERA at 5.20 in 71 innings. Tillman fielded his position, and then more questions about his health. He keeps insisting that he's fine, that his issues are command-related.

Tillman is 5-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts against the Red Sox, including two this season. They've run up his pitch count enough to get him out of both games after the fifth, though he allowed only one run on March 31. He gave up three on April 18.

Tillman is 0-2 with a 2.78 ERA in four starts at Camden Yards this season and 5-0 with a 6.33 ERA in nine road starts.

Dustin Pedroia is 10-for-32 (.313) against Tillman. David Ortiz is 2-for-19 (.105).

Will Middlebrooks is 0-for-16, but he's on the disabled list with a fractured right index finger.

Caleb Joseph threw out another runner attempting to steal last night, making him 7-for-16 since the Orioles purchased his contract on May 7.

"He's come a long way," said manager Buck Showalter. "If I showed you some reports through his development as a player, you'd probably be a little... it would be a lot different than what he is now. There's some late bloomers. I say all the time, especially with catchers in that 27 to 31 range, they start kind of figuring it out if they have the want-to, and he did.

"Donnie Werner and John (Russell) and himself worked on a lot of things, mostly to do with your footwork. You can't receive the ball here and arm-strength it to second. You've got to cheat a little bit with your feet. And that's what a lot people miss about (Matt) Wieters. Wieters has got the best cheat feet in baseball."

Showalter is hoping that Wieters gets the best news on Monday from Dr. James Andrews.


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