NEW YORK — Who knows what this offseason will bring and whether Chris Davis' tenure with the Orioles will come to a close in October.
But if this is the end, the slugger is going out with a flourish.
Davis slammed a solo homer to left in the top of the ninth Tuesday night to give the Orioles a 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees before an announced and stunned 30,785 in the Bronx.
It was Davis' 41st homer of the season — the most in the majors — and his sixth homer and 10th RBI in seven September games. He's on a seven-game hitting streak, batting .400 in that span.
"He's a freak. He just continues to do those type of things," Orioles starter Kevin Gausman said. "Seems like every time we need a big hit, he's coming up to bat that inning and he's doing it. He's an awesome guy, too. Just all-around great; great to be around."
Davis' heroics gave the Orioles (66-72) just their fourth win in their past 19 games. It also allowed them to temporarily lift themselves out of a last-place tie with the Boston Red Sox, who lost Tuesday.
"He's been solid in a time of need," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Davis. "He's been able to dial up some things that we need. It's hard to do because they all know what he's capable of."
It was Davis' 10th homer in 150 at-bats against a left-handed pitcher this season. Tuesday night's victim was Chasen Shreve (6-2), who had thrown just his third pitch of the evening in relief of a masterful Masahiro Tanaka.
Having never faced Shreve, Davis conceded he didn't know much about the Yankees lefty heading into the at-bat.
"We went over him in the hitters' meeting, but some guys will pitch you differently than they pitch everybody else," Davis said. "Some guys will kind of stay true to the reports. Just go out there and try to look for a good pitch. I think it was big for me to get in a hitter's count in that situation and just look for something I can drive."
The big swing is what the Orioles needed — thanks to a bullpen that didn't allow a hit in four scoreless innings. Darren O'Day (6-2) picked up the win by retiring both batters he faced and closer Zach Britton threw a perfect ninth for his 31st save of the year. Showalter focused on T.J. McFarland's 2 1/3 scoreless innings as the difference-maker.
"Just a reminder what Mac did for us last year and did for us this year when he's here," Showalter said. "If you look at his numbers in this ballpark and teams in the division, it's been nice to have him back."
For eight innings, the Orioles couldn't do much against Tanaka, who retired the first 12 Orioles he faced. He lost a potential perfect game and no-hitter in the fifth.
Davis led off the fifth with a walk. He then moved to third on a two-out single by Matt Wieters, who hadn't played since Friday because a sore left wrist.
Wieters' single to right to break up the no-hitter almost wasn't. The bouncer skipped under the glove of shortstop Didi Gregorius, who was playing on the right side of the field in the shift. Had he let it go, second baseman Stephen Drew was in position to grab that grounder in shallow right and throw out Wieters at first.
Tanaka ended the inning with a popout from shortstop J.J. Hardy, who was playing for the first time since going on the disabled list Aug. 24 with a groin injury.
The Orioles wiped out Tanaka's shutout bid in the sixth when Ryan Flaherty lined a 93-mph fastball over the right-field wall for a 1-0 lead. It was Flaherty's eighth homer of the season and fourth in his past 10 games, dating to Aug. 26.
The lead was short-lived. Alex Rodriguez led off the bottom of the sixth with his own solo homer, one that landed in the first row of the left-field seats just out of the reach of a leaping Nolan Reimold.
With the homer, Rodriguez passed Rickey Henderson for 22nd on the all-time hits list with 3,056 and became just the second player in baseball history, along with Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, to have 30 home runs in 15 different seasons.
That was all for Gausman, who had already thrown 103 pitches through five-plus innings on a muggy night in the Bronx.
"I don't know if it was laborious, but that team makes you labor. There's a lot of power throughout the lineup and you're trying to be careful," Showalter said. "Whether it's a two-inning outing or a seven-inning outing, [Gausman] takes it in and he digests it and you know he is going to learn from things as he goes forward. And he's going to be a good pitcher for us."
Gausman was charged with one run on six hits and a walk while striking out five, including twice fanning his former Grandview (Colo.) High School teammate Greg Bird.
"It was pretty cool," Gausman said. "Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to really let it soak in as guys were on base. But, just really cool."
Gausman threw 27 pitches in a scoreless first inning. Three different times in his first five innings, he had two runners on base before escaping without permitting a run. The most impressive was in the fifth, when he threw a 98-mph elevated fastball Brian McCann for the third out.
The Orioles have not had a starter last beyond 5 2/3 innings in their past 10 games. Gausman is the last one to do it — pitching 6 2/3 innings in a loss in Texas on Aug. 28.
This time it didn't hurt them, partially because Davis continues to slug his way to a big contract this offseason, whether it is with the Orioles or another club. He is the only Oriole in team history with more than 40 homers in two different seasons.
And he came through with a big moment Tuesday.
"I just thought we did a good job of hanging in there," Davis said. "[The Yankees are] a good team, obviously, and we did a great job of minimizing our mistakes tonight and trying to take advantage of the opportunities that we had to score."