Carroll County Times

Davis, O's power past Toronto

BALTIMORE - The offense that has turned the Baltimore Orioles into a postseason contender showed up Sunday in the final game of the first half.
A pair of home runs and an early breakout against Toronto led to the Orioles' 7-4 win over the Blue Jays in front of 34,748 at Camden Yards, who watched their club gain a little momentum going into the All-Star break.
The season's actual midway point was two weeks ago, but the Orioles reached the unofficial end of the first half and a four-day respite by taking two of three against Toronto to finish their homestand at 4-3. And Chris Davis continued to serve as the face of the offense.
Davis smashed another home run - his fourth in as many games - and drove in four runs to lead Baltimore (53-43) past its division rival.
Davis kept his historic pace going with a two-run shot in the third inning that put Baltimore up 6-0. Davis has 37 home runs, which ties him with Reggie Jackson for the most by an AL player before the All-Star break. Jackson had 37 in 1969.
According to ESPN, Davis and Detroit's Miguel Cabrera are the first players in baseball history to have 30 homers and 90 RBIs before the break. Davis' 93 RBIs at the break are the most by an Orioles player in a season since Nick Markakis had 101 in 2009.
"It means I can just take the second half off, and coast," Davis joked. "I think it's something definitely to be proud of. It means I've been doing my job but it also speaks volumes about the guys in front of me getting on base and really swinging the bats well."
The benefactor was Scott Feldman, who won for the first time since being acquired July 2 in a trade with the Chicago Cubs. Feldman (1-2) went 7 1-3 innings and struck out seven, and soaked in a standing ovation when manager Buck Showalter went to the bullpen and took the ball from his right-hander.
"Pretty cool," Feldman said. "Coming here in the past, they haven't had a packed house like this, so it's nice to see the fans coming out and supporting the team."
Jim Johnson posted his 33rd save - he tied Tippy Martinez for second on the club's all-time list with 105 - and ended it with a strikeout against Jose Reyes, who represented the tying run, which sent the remaining home fans home happy.
The Orioles' four position-player All-Stars (Davis, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and J.J. Hardy) had a big day, combining for six hits, six runs, two homers, and all seven RBIs.
Jones had Baltimore's other home run, a solo blast to right-center in the fifth, and finished with three runs and two RBIs.
Maicer Izturis delivered a two-out, two-run single to right in the fourth to put the Blue Jays (45-49) on the board. But Feldman ended the frame by striking out J.P. Arencibia to hold a four-run lead.
"That's always a good feeling," Feldman said. "It puts you at ease a little bit where you don't have to be so fine and you're not worried about giving up singles and stuff like that. It was great to see the guys come out and put up a four spot. It was awesome."
The Orioles strung together three singles to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning before Davis drove in two more with a double down the right-field line. Hardy singled to left-center with two outs and Davis scored to make it 4-0, giving Feldman the early advantage.
They did their damage against Jays starter Josh Johnson, who fell to 1-5 and allowed seven runs and seven hits in six innings.
"I think it's always huge to build up some momentum going into the break, let guys kind of rest easy and get after it when we get back," Davis said. "Pitching has been solid, we've been swinging the bats well throughout the whole first half. So it's definitely good to get those wins."
Davis has plans over the break, starting tonight with the Home Run Derby. On Tuesday he's starting for the AL, along with Hardy at shortstop and Jones in the outfield.
He's one of five Orioles playing on a national stage this week, a sign of Baltimore's successful start to the season. But it's nothing more than that, Showalter said.
"It was a 'W' for Baltimore, and that's what it's about," he said. "We've got 66 games left? Grinding like heck through the season, all the challenges, and now we've got a chance to roll the dice with 66 games and let's see if we can play in October. That's what it's all about. We've positioned ourselves to have a chance to compete for that opportunity."
NOTE: Showalter said he'll go with Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, and Tillman as starting pitchers when Baltimore visits Texas starting Friday.