Davis hits 46th homer, leads Orioles past Rays

Todd Karpovich, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


BALTIMORE -- Baltimore manager Buck Showalter insisted his team is not in panic mode, despite a recent skid that has the Orioles facing an uphill battle to reach the playoffs for the second straight year.
Back-to-back losses to Tampa Bay in this week's three-game series, however, could have caused at least some concern among Orioles' officials. Nonetheless, Baltimore is sending playoff invoices to season ticket holders on Friday to show their bravado.
In the the series finale against the Rays, Baltimore showed some reasons for the optimism.
Chris Davis crushed his major league-leading 46th home run, and Wei-Yin Chen allowed just two runs over seven innings, leading the Orioles to a 4-2 victory over the Rays on Wednesday.
Baltimore avoided a three-game sweep and knocked Tampa Bay out of first place in the American League East and behind the Boston Red Sox.
Davis tied Jim Gentile (1961) for third on the Orioles' single-season home run list, behind Brady Anderson (50 in 1996) and Frank Robinson (49 in 1966).
"It put up one run on the board and we were able to get the win. That's the biggest thing," Davis said about his homer. "Team goals come before individual goals. I'm happy to be swinging the bat well. I'm even happier to get the win."
Chen (7-6) snapped a three-game losing streak and allowed seven hits with three strikeouts and three walks. His last win came July 30 against the Houston. Tommy Hunter picked up his fourth save for Baltimore by stranding two runners.
Matt Wieters ended the game by throwing out Kelly Johnson trying to steal second.
"Once you win the first two, you definitely want to win all three," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Give them credit. Their pitcher hung in there tough. But we batted and had a chance there in the ninth inning."
Adam Jones went 2-for-4 and hit his 26th home run of the season, which travelled 451 feet and was the longest at Camden Yards this season. Nate McLouth also went 2-for-3 with a run for the Orioles, who won for just the fourth time in their past 11 games.
Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson (10-7) struggled with his command most of the night, allowing four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and three walks over 4 1/3 innings. He also failed to get past the fifth inning in four of his past five starts.
"The main thing is just the command of all my pitches," Hellickson said. "Other than that, I don't know. I wish I could tell you. I'm just throwing way too many fastballs up in the zone and over the plate. And my off-speed stuff is not good enough to get me back into counts when I fall behind."
Jason Bourgeois hit his first home run for the Rays since being called up Aug. 6. Sean Rodriguez also got his third home run for Tampa Bay.
Baltimore opened a 2-0 lead in the first on a fielder's choice by Adam Jones and sacrifice fly by Matt Wieters. The Rays cut the margin to 2-1 in the second on a two-out, solo home run by Bourgeois that was roped to left field.
Jones then provided another two-run cushion when he led off the third with a long solo home run to center. It was his fourth career homer off Hellickson in 40 at-bats.
On a warm night at Oriole Park, the ball continued to travel, and a solo homer by Rodriguez cut the Orioles' lead to 3-2 in the fourth. The Orioles were just 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Hellickson, but were effective with the long ball. Davis hit the 74th home run to land on Eutaw Street, increasing the lead to 4-1 in the fifth.
"Big win," Wieters said. "You like to get a series, but the only thing we could do tonight was win one game. We came out here and played well. Wei-Yin threw the ball great and we got enough runs and gave him some support."
NOTES: RHP Jim Johnson could pitch multiple innings as opposed to just serving as the closer, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Wednesday. ... Orioles LF Nate McLouth snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a first inning single and had his first two-hit game since Aug. 2. ... Tampa Bay LHP Matt Moore, who is on the disabled list with left elbow soreness, threw 69 pitches in a bullpen session prior to Wednesday's game against the Orioles and did not report any issues. ... The Rays' Will Myers leads all AL rookies with 39 RBI.