Updating Davis’ hand and an 11-2 win

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was removed from tonight’s game against the Rays due to soreness in his left hand. Manager Buck Showalter did it as a precaution. Davis found the entire situation amusing as a few reporters lingered at his locker following an 11-2 win.

Must not be too serious.

“It feels the same, since about April. It is what it is,” Davis said after contributing a home run.

“It’s pretty much been bothering me all season, but you keep playing through it. I think Buck saw a chance to give me a blow and jumped at the opportunity.”

The Orioles vaulted to within one game of first place in the American League East and can sweep the Rays with a win Wednesday afternoon.

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Davis hit his 35th home run, a solo shot of Jake Odorizzi in the second inning. He singled in the fourth inning for his sixth hit in the last three games. However, he came out after leading off the fifth with a strikeout and grimacing on one swing.

“It is what it is,” he said. “You just continue to try to grind through it. Some days it hurts, some days it hurts more. You try to find a way through it. We’ve got a lot of guys up here right now who can cover a number of positions, so it’s nice to have.”

Showalter moved Steve Pearce from left field to first base and gave Davis the rest of the night off.

“He’s just got, it’s in his palm a little bit, something he’s had for a couple of months,” Showalter said. “Just talked to him a little bit between innings, and decided not to take a chance potentially. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. He’s going to want to play. All these guys, I could talk about each one of them that are battling things like that. It’s something that Chris has been pushing his way through.

“He’s not going to be 100 percent again until about two months after the season. I can say that about all of them, but just didn’t want to take you chance there, get jammed there and have it kind of really get sore. It’s not now. It’s something he’s had for a long time. It’s something he doesn’t like talking about.”

Davis expects to be in the lineup Wednesday afternoon.

“I’ve been playing with it since April, so we’ll keep going. We’ll see what tomorrow brings when tomorrow brings it.”

Davis smiled at his own words.

Perhaps the soreness stems from his slide/dive at second base back in April at Tropicana Field.

“I couldn’t tell you,” he said. “Think it’s just related to baseball in general.”

The Orioles gave Yovani Gallardo and four relievers plenty of support, including a six-run fourth inning.

“I was really proud of the way that Yovani hung in there and battled,” Davis said, “and obviously we were able to score a bunch of runs and make it a little bit easier to breathe.”

Manny Machado struck the big blow in the fourth with a grand slam.

“I’m just trying to make contact with it, drive a couple runs in,” Machado said. “I know that the team on the other side, they’re going to battle to the last out, so we’ve got to get as many runs as possible to put us in a good position to let our pitchers do what they do. I’m just trying to make good contact and get a couple runs in.”

This is the second game in a row where the Orioles put together a big inning. They scored five runs yesterday in the fifth inning.

“It helps out,” Machado said. “We’re playing small ball. We’re not just hitting homers and driving in a couple runs. Guys are getting on base hitting singles, doubles, doing the little things that give us opportunities to have that big inning.

“I think people are overlooking how well we’re executing and hitting in key situations. Things are starting to click for us, we’re starting to play as a team. It’s been fun for the last couple days. It’s been fun doing what we’re doing. We’re excited for the rest of September and we’re going to see what happens in the long run.”

The Orioles get a rare chance to play a team below .500, but they can’t let up.

“Every W from now on counts,” Machado said. “It’s a big one. We have a tough schedule, everybody knows that. We start off this road trip, we don’t have the best record on the road. To start off the road trip 2-0 means a lot for us and gives us that confidence that we need to going into tomorrow and the rest of the road trip. Not really thinking about who we’re playing on the other side, just try to get the W, do what we need to do as a team.

“Finally, we’re doing the little things. I think that’s going to put us on the next level. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Keep seeing pitches, pass the baton. Just keep passing it.”

Machado has four career grand slams, including three this season. He’s the first Oriole with three grand slams in the same season since Chris Hoiles in 1998.

“When they start talking about MVPs, they’ve got to talk about him, too, just all around,” Showalter said. “It’s been an honor to watch him play every day. I know he just missed a couple of pitches in previous at-bats and he battled his way back in the count. He had a lot of good at-bats before that to set that situation up.”

The Orioles knew that the Blue Jays lost to the Yankees. They’re not wearing blinders.

“We come in here and the games are on,” Machado said. “We know what’s going on on the other side. Obviously, we want those guys to lose. We want to put ourselves in a good position. But at the end of the day, if we don’t get the W, none of that’s going to matter.”

Said Davis: “I think we’re obviously aware of what’s going around us, but our main focus is the next nine innings ahead of us. We’re in control of our own destiny and the only thing we can do is go out and try to win one game at a time.”

Gallardo allowed one earned runs (two total) and five hits in five innings.

“He minimized the damage,” Showalter said. “I think a very typical outing for him, kept the team engaged, very professional outing, a veteran outing.”

“I felt good,” Gallardo said. “I think other than not getting deeper in the ballgame, I felt good about it. Giving up that home run to (Logan) Forsythe to start the game, that’s definitely not the way I wanted to start it. But after that, I was able to settle down and make pitches whenever I had to.

“I think they fouled off some pretty good pitches and made me work. I had to battle through it. But CD with that home run in the second inning and then everybody else following behind it, I think for myself, giving up that run in the first inning, just got to leave it at that. Just control the innings, limit the damage, and let the guys come back in and swing the bats.”

The starters mostly have stepped up while Chris Tillman is on the disabled list.

“I think obviously when he went down it was tough,” Gallardo said. “It’s a big blow to our rotation and look at all the things he’s done throughout the year. But for us, we see him busting his butt every day to get healthy and come back and join us.

“Obviously, the No. 1 thing is for him to feel right. We know what we have to do. Just how I said earlier a month ago, when he went down, we knew what we have to do. We have to step up and take care of business on our side and just go in day in and day out and work hard.”

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