TORONTO -- Chris Davis' power numbers so far this year haven't matched the pace of last year's 53-homer season, but on Thursday night, the Orioles' slugging first baseman still found a way to be an offensive force without the long ball.
Davis drove in three runs on a pair of opposite-field singles against the infield shift as the Orioles came back from an early three-run deficit and scored 11 straight runs in an 11-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in front of an announced 16,283 at Rogers Centre.
With the win, the Orioles headed home from Canada with their first winning road trip since their first road trip after last year’s All-Star break (July 19-25, 2013). They finished 4-3 on the seven-game road trip against the Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox.
“I’ll take it, especially in these two environments,” said Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, who had three hits and also drove in three runs.
In the final two games of the series here in Toronto, the Orioles scored a total of 21 runs. Following Wednesday’s 10-8 win, it marked the first time the Orioles have scored 10 or more runs in back-to-back games since Aug. 14-15, 2008.
The Orioles (11-10) also completed a span of 15 straight games against American League East opponents with a 9-6 record, and they moved ahead of the Blue Jays (11-11) into second place in a tightly packed division.
Eight of the nine Orioles starters had at least one hit, and the team's No. 2 through No. 5 hitters combined to drive in 10 runs. Five Orioles players had at least two hits.
“[In] this ballpark, you are going to have to score some runs,” manager Buck Showalter said. “They are good. You better come in here and not expect your pitcher to be perfect. It’s hard to do in the American League East and this ballpark.”
Davis, who has just two homers in 21 games this season, opened up a five-run seventh inning by slapping a two-run single into left field through the shift against Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil (Maryland), giving the Orioles a 4-3 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
After the Orioles pulled off a double steal to place runners at second and third with one out, the Blue Jays intentionally walked Nelson Cruz to load the bases, bringing Davis to the plate to face Cecil. The Blue Jays employed a shift that had three infielders to the right of second base.
“They’re just leaving holes for me,” Davis said, with a smile. “They’re not shifting, they’re just leaving holes for me.”
Davis, who entered the at-bat just 1-for-11 in his career against Cecil (0-1), then reached out to slap his 0-2 delivery past diving third baseman Brett Lawrie — the only infielder on that side of the diamond — to score two runs.
“I think any guy in here wants to be in that position to try to drive in some runs,” Davis said. “That’s the beauty of the competition. Nelson is swinging the bat really well, and with Jonesy behind me, and a lefty on the mound, I know they’re going to go after me. I accept the challenge. I was glad I was able to rise to it tonight.”
The Orioles piled it on from there. Jones hit an RBI double over Colby Rasmus’ head in center field to score Cruz, and Matt Wieters hit a two-run single off reliever Esmil Rogers on a ball that he reached out to hit and lost his bat on the play, putting the Orioles up, 7-3.
“I have done it before, but not very often,” said Wieters, who had two hits. “It’s a good way to not roll over. When you don’t have the bat in your hands, it’s hard to roll over.”
Orioles right-hander Bud Norris fell behind, 3-0, after two innings, but he settled in nicely despite being visibly bothered by his right hamstring.
Norris (1-2) has pitched at least six innings in his past three starts, and he is the only Orioles starter to last at least six full innings (twice) in the past eight games. He went six innings Thursday, holding Toronto scoreless over his final four frames, and allowed five hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
The Orioles rallied from behind for the second straight night, turning an early deficit into a rout. And on both nights, the club’s starting pitcher was able to bounce back after allowing a big inning to the Blue Jays. On Wednesday, Chris Tillman rebounded from a six-run second inning to go 5 2/3 innings.
“It’s huge,” Wieters said. “We wouldn’t like to give up the big inning, but when you give it up, being able to answer and put up zeroes is huge. In this game, when you give up a big inning, you better put up some zeroes to give your team a chance to come back and get some runs, and we did that both nights.”