BOSTON - Chris Davis rounded first base today and slapped his hands together. Solid contact made twice in one at-bat.
Davis lined a two-run single into right field with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the first inning. The Orioles, slow starters at the plate this season, grabbed an early lead off Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello. Davis, off to the slowest start in major league history, finally had his first hit.
Porcello missed with a changeup on his first pitch and Davis lined a 93 mph fastball through the shift. He was 0-for-33 this season and hitless in his last 54 at-bats and 62 plate appearances to gain more unwanted national attention.
The morning began with Davis sitting at his locker and watching video of last night’s pinch-hitting appearance, which ended with a liner to second baseman Eduardo Núñez with the count full that sealed a 6-4 loss. He headed out with bat in hand to join hitting coach Don Long for another early session.
Moved up to sixth in the order, Davis walked to the plate after Rio Ruiz drew a two-out walk and received a nice ovation from Red Sox fans who sympathized with his plight. The second pitch thrown to him would snap a hitless streak that spanned 210 days.
Davis touched the bill of his helmet and smiled while looking toward the bench, then motioned for the ball and laughed. Jonathan Villar hopped the railing, lifted both arms and applauded. First base coach Arnie Beyeler gave Davis a pat on the buttocks.
The ovation from the dugout will rival anything heard for the rest of the day.
Trey Mancini hugged Davis as he came back to the bench to retrieve his mitt and cap. Relievers headed toward the bullpen stopped to congratulate him.
Mancini doubled with one out and Dwight Smith Jr. and Ruiz walked to give Davis his latest opportunity, resulting in the veteran’s first hit since a double in the second inning on Sept. 14.
Davis can’t give back the records for longest streak of at-bats and plate appearances without a hit - which stood at 46 and 57 - but perhaps the club can move on from the daily questions about them.
It’s a pretty safe bet that the Washington Capitals rally towel hanging from Davis’ locker at Fenway Park will stay in place for the rest of the series and go with him to Tampa.
The Orioles worked Porcello for 24 pitches in the first inning. Andrew Cashner issued a leadoff walk in the bottom half, but Pedro Severino threw out Andrew Benintendi attempting to steal. Cashner was back in the dugout at 14 pitches.
Renato Núñez popped up with the bases loaded and two outs in the second after Porcello issued two more walks and Villar singled.
Update: Christian Vázquez hit a two-run homer off Cashner in the third to tie the game.
Update II: Davis greeted Heath Hembree with an RBI double in the fifth to break the tie.
Update III: The Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth and scored four runs. Núñez had an RBI single, Ruiz drove in two more with a single and Núñez scored on Davis’ fielder’s choice grounder for a 7-2 lead. Davis has four RBIs.
Update IV: Jimmy Yacabonis inherited a first-and-third, no-out jam in the sixth and only one run scored on Mitch Moreland’s double play grounder.
Update V: The Orioles scored twice in the seventh. The Red Sox committed two errors and botched another grounder that resulted in a fielder’s choice.
Update VI: Vázquez’s two-run double off Yacabonis in the seventh cut the lead to 9-5.
Update VII: Mychal Givens covered the last five outs and the Orioles ended a four-game losing streak with a 9-5 win.