Davis came on with a runner at first and no one out in the seventh inning of a tense, one-run game -- Orioles notes
the kind of situation the Orioles middle relief crew has had trouble with during the past few days. But it was no problem this time.
He got shortstop Mark Lewis to ground into a double play and got out of the inning on a pop fly. He needed two solid defensive plays by Cal Ripken in the eighth, but he sent the Indians down 1-2-3 to give the Orioles one more chance against Cleveland right-hander Charles Nagy.
The game would not turn around, but the performance by Davis had to be a psychological lift for the rest of the bullpen. There had been late-inning flare-ups in each of the four previous games, but Davis insists that things will get better.
"I've been around long enough to know there are going to be times like these," he said. "As long as we are aggressive, we'll be all right. I don't think anybody has backed off of being aggressive."
Davis didn't, though he had given up three runs on five hits during three innings in his previous two appearances.
"There have been times when he has struggled," manager Johnny Oates said, "but he has had a lot of games like [yesterday]. He did a job for us. That's what we need our bullpen to do."
The Orioles shouldn't be too hard on themselves for coming up short against Indians starter Nagy. He is now 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA in his past five starts. He has not walked a batter in his past 28 2/3 innings, and he has given up two or fewer runs in 11 of his past 14 games.
He has bounced back from his Opening Day loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards, but he probably pitched better in that 2-0 loss than the did yesterday. He gave up six hits that day, seven fewer than yesterday's performance.
Left-hander Jim Poole gave up two home runs Monday night for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, but the club is nearing a decision on his status.
Poole, whose velocity is just returning to normal, probably will remain on his injury rehabilitation assignment for at least the next few days, even though the Orioles have had problems in the bullpen.
"He's still building up his arm strength," assistant GM Doug Melvin said. "The plan is to keep him there until the end of the homestand [Sunday] and then re-evaluate."
Ripken Sr. goes head over heels
Third-base coach Cal Ripken Sr. inadvertently added a touch of slapstick to the day's proceedings when he took a classic pratfall in the third inning.
Ripken sprinted onto the field after son Cal was called out on a close play at second base, but found himself in a no-man's land as the Indians whipped the ball around the infield after the out. Ripken was struck in the head by a throw from shortstop Mark Lewis and tumbled to the ground halfway between second and third. Fortunately, he was not hurt.
"I guess it hit me in the safest place," he said.
Ripken Sr. was not the only Oriole to take a fall yesterday. Center fielder Mike Devereaux lined an apparent triple to right field in the first inning, but slipped and fell on his way around first base. He had to settle for a double, but it didn't make any difference. Ripken Jr. followed with an RBI single.