As the Orioles and the rest of us all move on to the remainder of the 2012 season tonight, the prevailing feeling I have looking back at Sunday is what a great performance we saw on the mound by Chris Davis.
You hear managers often tell a player having a tough game at the plate to hang in there and keep grinding because they might get another chance. Who knew Davis’ would come on the mound?
It is remarkable to think he was the winning pitcher in a game where he went 0-for-8 at the plate with five strikeouts and also hit into a double play.
Davis took the mound in the 16th in Boston and needed to put up a zero to keep the game going. He did. An error kept it from being three up and out, but then the play at the plate kept it a shutout frame and seemed to pump life into the Orioles.
After taking the mound for the 17th with a three-run lead, Davis gave up a single and walk and suddenly he was facing Adrian Gonzalez who could tie the game with one swing. Gonzalez hit .486 last year against the Orioles with 10 extra-base hits and an OPS of 1.257.
Davis stunned everyone - maybe Gonzalez the most - by striking him out and a game-ending double play quickly followed.
Not only did Davis pitch two scoreless to get the win, but he threw what sure looked like several major league quality pitches on my TV screen. He hit 90 mph at least once and also threw a split-finger pitch and/or changeup. It was quality stuff, more than we had a right to expect from a position player.
Davis became the first Orioles position player to pitch since Manny Alexander in 1996, by the way.
There were other heroes in the win and the Orioles came home flying high at 10 games over .500 and with baseball’s best record at 19-9 after that win. But what Davis did was remarkable and I will guess will be talked about by Orioles fans for a long, long time.
Some other notes from the win:
* Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy had eight of the team’s 15 hits, including three homers and five RBIs. Hardy went 5-for-8 after totaling just seven hits over the previous nine games. He raised his average in one day from .187 to .217.
* The Orioles have a five-game win streak, which all came on the road at New York and Boston, and they won the five by a combined score of 35-13.
* Mark Reynolds raised his average from .136 to .195 in Boston, going 6-for-11 in the series with three doubles, two homers and six RBIs.
* The Orioles are 5-1 this year at Boston and New York after going 5-13 at both stops combined last season. They have now won five in a row, seven of eight and nine of their past 12 games against Boston, and are now 6-1 in their last seven games at Fenway Park.