Carroll County Times

Davis slams Orioles past Twins

BALTIMORE - Chris Davis is making a lot of fantasy baseball owners very happy.

What Davis is doing at the plate only seems like make-believe.

Baltimore's first baseman kept his torrid start to the season rolling along, and his bat led the Orioles to a 9-5 win over Minnesota in their home opener Friday.

Davis smashed an opposite-field grand slam in the eighth inning that proved to be the difference, and much of the 46,653 at Camden Yards stood and cheered as Davis popped out of the dugout for a curtain call.

The ovation could have just as easily been for what he's done this week.

Davis has four home runs in his first four games, the fourth player in history to reach that mark. His 16 RBIs through four games is a new major-league record. And he's batting .600 with three doubles to boot.

"I feel comfortable, kind of the same thing that was going on toward the end of last year," said Davis, who has 11 homers in his last 11 regular season games going back to 2012. "I felt like I was relaxed and being patient in the box. That's the only thing I can really say about it. I don't feel like I have anything magical to give you guys."

Somehow, Davis' stats are overshadowing those of teammates Adam Jones (.526) and Matt Wieters (.429). And the Orioles seem just fine with that.

"Whatever he's done in the first four games, it's been historic," Jones said. "If you put him in the Grand Canyon, he'll hit it out. Whatever he's doing, stick to it."

Davis stuck it to the Twins, who led 4-1 after four innings and 5-4 in the eighth before Baltimore (3-1) put together a rally.

Nolan Reimold and Nate McLouth opened the inning with singles and Manny Machado's sacrifice moved them into scoring position. Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire intentionally walked Nick Markakis to get to Jones, who said he used that as a little motivation to try and tie the game.

"It doesn't make me happy. It makes me kind of mad and want to get him," Jones said. "I'm just glad I was able to do it."

Jones' single to left scored Reimold and set the stage for Davis, whose sac fly in the fifth had tied the score at 4-4. Gardenhire went to the bullpen for left-hander Tyler Robertson to face Davis.

The Orioles' slugger sent Robertson's first pitch into the left-field seats.

"Anything they throw him, he's hitting it," Machado said. "And he's hitting it hard, too."

Added Orioles manager Buck Showalter: "I'm glad he's on our side."

Baltimore's bullpen looked like its 2012 self by throwing four scoreless innings in relief of starter Jake Arrieta, who allowed five runs and seven hits. Arrieta struck out five and walked two, and looked impressive until the Twins (2-2) scored four runs off him in the fourth inning.

Arrieta was looking for his third straight home-opening win, which would have been a club record, but thanks to Davis & Co. he settled for a no-decision.

"They definitely picked me up," Arrieta said.

Arrieta almost got out of trouble in the fourth, but the Twins scored four runs with two outs. Josh Willingham led off with a double and Justin Morneau walked before Arrieta struck out Ryan Doumit and Trevor Plouffe.

Chris Parmelee worked the count full against Arrieta, who came close on a few pitches of his third strikeout. But Parmelee won the battle and singled to score Willingham. Brian Dozier then gave the Twins a 3-1 lead with a triple to right-center, just out of Markakis' reach.

Dozier added an RBI single in the sixth, putting the Twins up 5-4. Their lead held until the eighth, when the hometown fans got their first look at "Orioles Magic 2013."

Thanks to Davis' out-of-this-world performance, even if the big man can't quite explain it.

"I'm more excited about the three wins," Davis said. "I'm taking what they give me. The biggest thing is the wins, as many as we can get as often as we can get them."