A loss tonight would have given the Orioles their first seven-game streak since July 2011. And their first seven-game streak at home - including the Twins’ sweep before the last road trip - since May 2013.
Chris Davis wouldn’t allow it. And he was adamant about it.
Davis hit his second home run of the night leading off the bottom of the 11th inning, driving a 3-0 pitch from Rays reliever Matt Andriese far enough that he almost hit the scoreboard on the fly. Davis punctuated the moment with an epic bat flip, so much team-wide frustration spiraling back down to the ground.
The Orioles rallied from deficits of 4-0 and 6-4 to win 7-6 at Camden Yards, with Davis producing his fourth career walk-off home run and second this season. His 152 home runs as an Oriole moved him past Chris Hoiles into sole possession of 11th place. His 90 home runs at Camden Yards moved him past Melvin Mora for fourth place.
Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game after Matt Wieters’ leadoff walk. Davis made sure it didn’t go to waste, belting his 38th home run of the season and giving the Orioles their first win in 62 games when trailing after the eighth.
Davis earned the heavy dousing of water by teammates as he approached home plate. Here’s to a clean slate.
Let’s hear from Davis:
On whether he saw where the ball landed: “I was so tired at that point that I was just really happy. I really didn’t watch it. At that point in the game, I was taking whatever I could get. Someone said it almost hit the scoreboard. I don’t know about all that. I didn’t see where it landed.”
Davis on whether there’s a sense of relief: “Yeah, we’ve been fighting and clawing and I feel like every time we get up, we turn around and get back down. Just about everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Some of it is self-inflicted, some of it is not. Like I said, we’re scratching and clawing, trying to get a win. That was a big one for us. You don’t want to get swept at home, especially in the midst of a losing streak when you’re about to go on the road to play a division rival. Change something up.”
Davis on difficulty of the past two weeks: “They’ve been tough. It’s tough anytime you’re not playing well. There’s a difference between losing ballgames and beating yourself, and I think there have been times when we’ve really beat ourselves, and made mistakes we don’t normally make. I think there’s a reason for everybody pressing. I think the guys feel a sense of urgency and I hope that they do. I think everybody in here knows how important it is and that it’s important to everybody personally and as a team. I think sometimes you just press too much and dig a hole for yourself and that’s kind of what we’ve done. So, it was nice for us to get a win and break up this whole losing streak business.”
Davis on playing the Blue Jays and Yankees: “I think the games at the end of September, the beginning of September against your division rivals, they always feel like playoff games. Whether one team’s out of it or not, I remember back to 2011 when I first got traded over here, we were way out of it, but every game we played, we felt like it was a playoff atmosphere because we were battling, grinding, trying to ruin somebody’s season, so to speak. I think that you’ve got to be fired up for these games. They obviously mean a lot. We welcome the challenge.”
Manager Buck Showalter on Davis’ hot and cold streaks: “The guy’s going to hit 40 home runs and drive in 100 runs. He posts up every day. And like the story I told you last night, him playing the last inning or two last night might have been the key to tonight and the rest of our season. Those are the little things that go unnoticed. It’s always about the end game and sum of the work. It’s a long, grinding season. It’s one of those where you wait till the smoke clears and look back at it. But right now you’re in the moment and every pitch. Can you imagine having that type of power at your finger tips? Every time you swing the bat. And people get frustrated when he doesn’t do it every time out. Can you imagine how frustrated an athlete gets like that? I think he wears it real well all things considered and the expectations he’s created by his talent.”
Showalter on Schoop’s two-run homer in the ninth: “It was big for Jon. Jon like just about all our guys wants something so much, it’s hard. When you get it there’s such a release because you’re wanting to do something every time up. I think what Jon is learning little by little is that you can’t let something snowball. You have a couple at-bats that don’t go your way or a play, you go out there and you’ve got to keep grinding. It’s going to come back around. That’s why it’s the greatest team sport invented because you don’t get to hit when you want. It’s your turn.
Showalter on J.P. Arencibia’s fly ball to left in the third being ruled a home run: “There were some great defensive plays that will be forgotten. Stevie (Pearce), would that have been a home run? The foul pole wasn’t too kind to us tonight. The other ball was obviously foul. We had a pretty good angle. I don’t know if they do. What are you going to do? The pole doesn’t go up any higher than that. But it was foul. I knew they probably weren’t going to overturn it.”
Showalter on being proud of effort: “Probably every night. I understand how hard this is, almost to a fault. As long as the want-to is there ... Our guys are sincere and that’s why I’m frustrated for them. I hurt for them and obviously our fans and stuff because I know how everybody wants it as much as ... September is an eternity. You never know. We’ve got a tough road ahead of us, but so do they.”
Showalter on whether Davis knows when a hot streak is coming: “No, no. It would be up to (Drew) Hutchison, what kind of streak he gets into. You don’t just dial it up and say, ‘OK, it’s my time. Here we go.’ It just doesn’t work that way. I wish it did, where we could dial it up. It’s that time. He’s had X-number of whatever. The other team doesn’t cooperate all the time. It wasn’t a hard decision putting a green light on there, OK? That wasn’t Einstein. That was pretty easy.”
Wieters on needing a win: “I said before the game that we just needed a win, whether it was clean, dirty, scrapping. There was a little bit of everything in that game. Right now we just need wins, and really that’s going to be our motto for the rest of the year. Just get wins any way, any how.”
Wieters on the comeback showing Orioles haven’t quit: “There’s not going to be any of that around here. Even when we’ve been struggling lately, we’re in it until the last out. Schoopie put a good swing on the ball and tied it up, and I think C.D.’s ball still hasn’t landed.”
Wieters on ninth-inning walk: “That’s my job there. (Brad) Boxberger is tough, so I knew it would be a tough battle. I was able to foul off some pitches and work a walk. That’s a positive for me, to recognize some pitches and take some close ones.”
Kevin Gausman on whether the 3 minute, 45 second review on Arencibia’s ball threw him off: “Little bit. I think any time you have a break in the middle of an inning, I think that was one of the longest ones we’ve ever had. I definitely felt like, just kind of waiting for a decision. I don’t think it has anything to do with the inning getting away from me, but definitely a little bit different.”
Gausman on feeling better: “I’m just glad we won. That’s the biggest thing. Especially with what we are going through right now. That’s the biggest thing. We came right back and put up four, and it was a great game. You can kind of tell, we didn’t want to lose. We were kind of sick of losing. Manny (Machado) came up to me multiple times in that third inning and said, ‘Hey, get out of this inning. We’re going to score runs.’ I think it was one of those things where we didn’t want to lose. Obviously, that doesn’t make me feel any better about my start, but just glad we can get a win.”