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Davis powers Orioles past Nationals

BALTIMORE - The orange T-shirts given out to Baltimore Orioles fans Wednesday night had a silhouette of a swinging Chris Davis on the back and a big "O" on the front surrounded by a home plate.

The symbol on the front might as well be an "S" - as in Superman.

Davis continued his home run-happy ways with a pair of blasts, two of eight homers hit between Baltimore and Washington, and led the Orioles past the Nationals 9-6 in front of 39,129 at Camden Yards.

Davis' two-run shot to right-center capped a six-run seventh inning and ignited the near sellout crowd, which may have been the loudest of the season to date. The hometown fans have made plenty of noise for Davis and his league-leading 19 home runs this year.

In fact, if not for Detroit superstar Miguel Cabrera, Davis would lead the AL in all three Triple Crown categories. He's hitting .359 with 50 RBIs, both of which are second best in the league.

"It's fun," Davis said. "You're always working on things, whether you're locked in or struggling. I heard for such a long time that routine was such a big part of this game. I've really found one that I like and I've continued to do that every day."

The Orioles (29-24) sent nine men to the plate in the seventh and chased Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann, who came into Wednesday with the best road ERA (2.24) since the beginning of 2012, a span of 21 outings. He surrendered a season-high seven runs and a career-high 10 hits.

No. 9 hitter Steve Pearce ripped a two-run shot to left that cut Washington's lead to 6-5, and two batters later Manny Machado tied the score with an RBI double. Nick Markakis, who homered in the sixth inning, singled up the middle to score Machado and give Baltimore the lead.

Davis came up with one out and fell behind 0-2 against Nats reliever Tyler Clippard before ripping a ball 396 feet into the bleacher seats.

Davis finished 4 for 4 with three runs and three RBIs, and extended his hitting streak to eight games.

"It's impressive. It's crazy to watch that," Machado said. "He's swinging the bat really well."

Orioles closer Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 16th save and likely made most of the fans forget how this one started. Starter Chris Tillman didn't get out of the fifth inning and allowed six runs on eight hits, including four homers. Three of them came from Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who became the third Washington player to achieve that feat.

Roger Bernadina and Zimmerman hit back-to-back homers in the fourth, with Bernadina's landing on Eutaw Street and Zimmerman's 430 feet to straightaway center field.

Baltimore trailed 6-2 in the fifth and the Nationals (27-26) looked in control behind Zimmermann, but with Davis leading the charge the Orioles' offense kept doing what it does best.

Even if the slugger admits he's surprised by his somewhat superhuman start.

"You always expect yourself to succeed and I think it's a reward for hard work," Davis said. "You can't predict stuff like this. I just go out there every day and try and have good at-bats. Make smart decisions and not swing at everything, but be a little patient. Not swing at everything. I think that's been the biggest thing for me this year, is being more patient, and trying to swing at strikes. I know that sounds kind of silly, but that's all I've done."

NOTE: The Orioles recalled second baseman Ryan Flaherty from Class AAA Norfolk before Wednesday's game and optioned Yamaico Navarro to the Tides. Flaherty hit .265 with two homers and five RBIs in eight games for Norfolk. "Things were going well for him," manager Buck Showalter said. "I wanted to get him back." Navarro appeared in eight games for the Orioles and hit .286 with two RBIs. Flaherty had an RBI double in his first at-bat Wednesday.

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