As Orioles designated hitter Chris Davis' bat exploded into two pieces in the seventh inning Wednesday, some eyes drifted to the fractured barrel of Davis’ bat, which went spinning toward the Orioles dugout.
“It almost took Nick Johnson's head off,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
But most eyes followed the ball, which Davis sent onto the grounds-crew roof in right-center-field for a broken-bat home run.
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Davis’ 12th homer of the season, his second in as many games, was a Bunyan-esque shot that put an exclamation point on the Orioles’ 7-1 win over Pittsburgh. After Davis swung, he held a foot-long chip of wood in his hands and watched his ball sail into the night.
"I was just shocked more than anything,” Davis said. “To take a swing and more than half the team is on the floor in the dugout. You don't expect that ball to go out of the ballpark. I actually thought he had a chance of robbing it, but it just crept up there."
Davis said he’s hit a broken-bat homer before, but he said “it was in a Cracker Jack park and basically just a wind-aided home run.”
“The bat didn't blow up,” Davis said. “It cracked. I've never done anything like that before. Like I said, I'm just glad it left the ballpark and get [us] a few more runs."
Said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle: “I've never seen a guy walk out of the batter's box with four inches of wood in his hand and he hit a home run. That was a new one for me.”
Davis is starting to settle into the No. 3 hole vacated by the injured Nick Markakis. He has a six-game hitting streak and is .411 (7-for-17) over his last four games, with three homers and eight RBIs.
Davis hit a mammoth blast Tuesday against the Pirates, a towering shot that went about 430 feet into the right-center-field bleachers. And then he added another powerful shot Wednesday.
“Somebody said that the bat had to be cracked,” Showalter said. “OK, it was cracked. It was still impressive. He's a big, strong man. I barely saw it because, one, you're getting out of the way, and two, you're hoping it doesn't hit somebody."