There were quite a few good things that happened tonight, but I just want to talk about how Chris Davis hit three home runs. He went onto Eutaw Street, he went into the bleachers, and he went into the LF seats. He hit three home runs! Shoutout to my mom tonight! My mom is a Chris Davis fan. She thinks he's "impressive." And tonight, my mom was sitting in the stands and Chris Davis hit three home runs. She sent me a text message that said, "3 Davis HR WooHoo!" I mean, come on. That's adorable.
It's no secret that I said some not-so-nice things about Chris Davis earlier this year. Maybe I was harsh on him. But really most of that was while he was having the ball thrown directly at him at first base and he couldn't seem to catch it. And I do still think that he is a very flawed player. But you know what? I love Chris Davis. He IS impressive!
So that other stuff that happened tonight included Zach Britton pitching a pretty great game for the second start in a row. Zach got off to a good start right away, retiring the top of the first in order with two strikeouts. He got into trouble in the second inning, starting with a leadoff double from Edwin Encarnacion, who came around to score one batter later thanks to a single from Kelly Johnson. He got the next two batters out, but then walked Jeff Mathis. Jeff Mathis! He's awful, Zach. It would behoove Zach Britton to not walk crappy hitters. He got out of the inning with just one run allowed, but he was definitely shaky.
The Blue Jays didn't hold the lead for long because the Orioles have a hitter named Chris Davis. He was up first for the Orioles in the bottom of the second and he only needed one pitch to hit Eutaw Street. Tie game! It was a moon shot for Davis.
After his rough second inning, Britton got his act together. He just did what we all know he can do: he got the hitters to hit into grounders. In the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, he faced fourteen batters. Eight of them hit into ground outs. One hit a ground ball single, two struck out, one flew out, one popped out, and one was hit by a pitch. It was a thing of beauty.
You know what else is a thing of beauty? No, not Chris Davis (well, yes, Chris Davis, but not right at this moment). The infield defense. Can you even BELIEVE that I said that? But tonight, the combination of Manny Machado, J.J. Hardy, and Ryan Flaherty was really just a sight to behold. Hardy and Flaherty especially were putting on a show behind Britton. If Hardy doesn't win the Gold Glove this year, I'll...well I'll expect it since he hasn't been hitting much. But he deserves it.
Back to Chris Davis. Davis stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning with the game still tied 1-1. This time there were two outs and no runners on, and on a 2-2 pitch he crushed another one. This one landed in the bleacher seats, almost all the way back. He just has such a nice swing, doesn't he?
The Orioles added three more runs in the sixth inning, with a few more Orioles joining in on the fun. A single by Nate McLouth and a double from Adam Jones put runners on second and third base with no outs, and Matt Wieters hit a fly ball to shallow center field that was caught by Colby Rasmus. McLouth tagged up and it would have been a really close play but Rasmus made a bad throw that went up the third base line. With Jones still on base and Davis stepping to the plate, the Blue Jays manager decided it was time to take out starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva. Makes sense, seeing as how Davis had already crushed two home runs off of him in the game.
Villanueva was replaced by Steve Delabar and, well, the strategy did not work out for the Jays. This time Chris Davis went opposite field with his homer. He likes to mix it up, you know? That made the score 5-1, with four of the Orioles runs knocked in on Davis home runs.
Zach Britton was going strong into the seventh inning, but at about 100 pitches he began to lose it. He got two outs, but after a walk and a single that put runners on first and third, Buck Showalter pulled him in favor of Darren O'Day. The normally reliable O'Day didn't get the job done, as Rajai Davis singled past a diving Machado at third base. The runner on second came in to score, a tough break for Britton.
Things got interesting after that. With the lefty Rasmus coming to the plate, Showalter turned to the new LOOGY, Brian Matusz. Everyone was nervous, but it seems that there was no need to be. Three pitches later and Rasmus had struck out to end the inning. Huzzah, Brian Matusz!
The O's got that run right back in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a sacrifice fly from Nick Markakis, and after another typical Pedro Strop outing (1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K), the Orioles took a 6-2 lead into the ninth. Buck called on Matt Lindstrom to close out the game, but it didn't work out. Lindstrom faced only two batters, but the first singled and the second, Jeff Mathis, homered. First a walk to Mathis and now a home run? Am I the only one who knows that he's Jeff Mathis??
With the lead down to just two runs, Buck turned to Jim Johnson. He did his thing, recording a strikeout, a ground out, and another strike out to end the game. All in a days work for JJ.
O's win! Tune in tomorrow night at Steve Johnson makes his second big-league start and the Orioles try to grab the series win.