This time, struggling first baseman Chris Davis came through.
Then several of his teammates did as well. The Orioles exploded for three homers and six runs in the top of the 11th tonight to break open a tense, extra-inning game and beat Washington 8-2 at Nats Park.
Davis found himself at the plate with Nelson Cruz on first and no outs in the 11th with the game tied at two. Davis was 0-for-4 for the game and had just two hits over his previous 38 at-bats.
But he picked a good time to snap that stretch. Davis smoked a 3-2 pitch from Craig Stammen out to right-center for a 4-2 lead. It was the 14th homer for Davis, who had struck out in 10 of his previous 16 at-bats.
The Orioles were not done. Manny Machado capped a 5-for-6 night with a two-run shot to make it an 8-2 lead. It was his eighth homer, and his five-hit day raised his average to .261.
Machado’s five hits were a career-high and come one day after his 22nd birthday.
The victory moves the Orioles to a season-high nine games over .500 at 49-40. They were last at nine games over .500 at 81-72 last Sept. 13.
Earlier, the teams exchanged two-run homers two innings apart in a pitcher’s duel between Chris Tillman and Stephen Strasburg. In the O’s fourth, Machado led off with a single. One out later, Cruz hit a 1-0 pitch out to right-center for a 2-0 lead.
It was Cruz’s 28th homer in the Orioles’ 89th game. Last year, Cruz homered 27 times in 109 games.
In the Nats sixth, Denard Span led off with a single and scored on Anthony Rendon’s two-run homer to right-center. Rendon hit a 91 mph first-pitch fastball out for his 13th homer.
Both Tillman and Strasburg were stingy for seven innings with each allowing the one longball with a man on.
Tillman gave up five hits and two runs with one walk and six strikeouts, throwing 103 pitches. This was Tillman’s fifth quality start in the last six games and he has an ERA of 2.21 in that stretch.
Strasburg gave up four hits and two runs with no walks and nine strikeouts on 104 pitches. He has an ERA of 3.47.
The Orioles have won seven of eight games and 12 of 17. They are 23-13 since May 31 and are 8-3 against the Nationals since 2012. The O’s are 8-3 in extra innings.
In the second game of this series, Bud Norris (7-5, 3.62) comes off the disabled list to face Doug Fister (7-2, 2.93) on Tuesday night.