Davis’ power explosion leads Birds past Pirates

Chris Davis is back hitting homers for the Orioles.

Entering tonight’s game with three homers on the year in 30 games and 104 at-bats, Davis hit three in one game as the Orioles routed Pittsburgh 9-2 tonight at PNC Park.

Davis hit a two-run shot during the O’s four-run fifth, a solo homer in the seventh and a two-run blast in the ninth. He had four hits, five RBIs and homered in his last three at-bats.

This is Davis’ second career three-homer game and eighth career multi-homer game. He also hit three on Aug. 24, 2012 against Toronto.

For an O’s team that had scored three runs or less in 12 of the previous 21 contests, this was a breakout game and their most runs since they scored 11 on April 24 at Toronto. The Orioles are 15-5 when scoring four or more.

Down 1-0, the Orioles took the lead with a two-run fourth and took control with a four-run fifth. J.J. Hardy’s single in the fourth tied the game 1-1 and ended his 12-game RBI drought. Later in the frame, Caleb Joseph drew a bases-loaded walk for the 2-1 edge.

A power explosion soon followed. Manny Machado led off the fifth with an infield single and scored on Adam Jones’ RBI double. A Davis two-run homer quickly followed. When Nelson Cruz homered to right-center, the O’s had back-to-back homers and a 6-1 lead with more Davis fireworks to come.

On the mound, Miguel Gonzalez went six innings plus one batter to get the win. He gave up seven hits and two runs with no walks and seven strikeouts. Gonzalez is now 2-3 with an ERA of 4.53 and has allowed three earned runs or less in seven consecutive starts.

This was the 18th time in the last 21 games the O’s starter gave up three or fewer earned runs. The starters’ ERA is 3.18 in that stretch.

Dating to the 2012 season, the Orioles have won six games in a row over Pittsburgh, scoring 47 runs.

Now 23-20 overall and 14-10 on the road, the Orioles go for a sweep of the two-game series on Wednesday night when Chris Tillman (4-2, 3.34 ERA) faces left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 6.84 ERA).

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