Lucky number three for O's Davis

BALTIMORE - Chris Davis put one on Eutaw Street. Then he hit another majestic shot to right field. The next time up, he made a little history.

Davis became the fourth Baltimore player in Camden Yards history to hit three home runs in a game and he powered the Orioles past Toronto 6-4 in front of 25,754 on Friday night.

The first of a seven-game homestand went the Birds' way thanks in part to Davis, who went 3 for 4 with four RBIs and three big flies.

It's the first time in major-league history a team has been involved in back-to-back games in which a player hit three homers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Orioles (68-57) were the givers Wednesday in Texas, when Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre clubbed three homers in a 12-3 victory.

It was Baltimore's turn to receive Friday night.

Davis hit a pair of solo homers off Blue Jays starter Carlos Villanueva (6-4) and a two-run shot off reliever Steve Delabar in the sixth inning, joining Roberto Alomar, Albert Belle, and Nick Markakis as the only Orioles to smack three home runs in a game at Camden Yards.

Markakis was the last guy to do it, back on Aug. 22, 2006, against Minnesota.

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Davis is the fourth major-league player since 1886 with a three-homer game and a win as a pitcher. Davis, who earned a victory in Boston earlier this season, joins Guy Hecker (1886), Babe Ruth (1930), and Jim Tobin (1942) on that elite list.

"It was awesome," Davis said of his big night. "I mean, these fans have been awesome all year. After I pitched in Fenway and had probably the most horrendous day at the plate that anyone's ever had, we came back home and they gave me a standing ovation. They are good baseball fans, they understand the game and they appreciate players that play hard and are willing to do anything to get a win."

Davis stepped out of the dugout for a quick curtain call after his third home run. When he came up to bat in the eighth, the crowd engulfed him in a larger standing ovation.

Davis struck out swinging, but not without an even louder collective cheer from the hometown fans.

"I was thinking about trying to work a walk," Davis joked. "I really wanted to see some pitches. No, I was definitely thinking about the home run. The game [Adrian] Beltre had the other night against us, the one Josh [Hamilton] had earlier this year against us. He gave me a good pitch to hit on the first pitch and I fouled it off. He was tough after that, but the biggest thing is we get the win and I enjoyed a pretty good night."

Davis' third homer - which gave him 23 on the year, a career high - was a Camden Yards special, an opposite field line drive that just made it over the fence in left to put Baltimore ahead 5-1 in the sixth inning.

Toronto (56-69) got close in the ninth when Jeff Mathis homered off Matt Lindstrom, cutting the deficit to 6-4. But the Orioles turned to closer Jim Johnson, who retired the next three batters and nailed down his 39th save of the season. Johnson has the second highest season total in club history behind Randy Myers' 45 in 1997.

The bullpen held on to a victory for starter Zach Britton, who improved to 3-1 and tossed 6 2-3 innings with six strikeouts. Britton gave up two earned runs and hurled his third straight quality start, maybe not quite as dazzling as he was in Detroit on Aug.18 (seven scoreless innings, five Ks) but effective nonetheless.

"I feel good out on the mound, it's just a matter of executing pitches," Britton said. "And right now I'm executing pitches a lot better. There's still some room for improvement, which is good. So I'll take into my next start."

Davis' solo home run in the second inning tied the game at 1-1 and was the 66th in Camden Yards history to land on Eutaw Street and the 28th by an Orioles player.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said he was just happy to see Davis relaxed at the plate and showcasing his power when the Orioles needed it.

"It's about time. We've had it done to us," Showalter said. "He puts some good swings on the ball, he's a strong young man. It was a good night for him, obviously, and I thought he handled it well."

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