Facing Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who is on a historic run of dominating hitters, wasn’t fun for Chris Davis early. The Orioles first baseman struck out in his first two at-bats against Hernandez and was hitless in three plate appearances against him Friday night. “At times it felt like he was just kind of playing around out there,” Davis said. “That’s how he’s been all year. He’s at the top of his game right now. There’s, in my mind, not a better pitcher in the league at this point.” But the Orioles knew that if they could keep the game close against Hernandez, they might be able to steal a win in the Pacific Northwest. Davis helped the Orioles do that, blasting a solo home run off reliever Charlie Furbush in the top of the 10th in a 2-1 win in front of an announced 24,792 at Safeco Field, giving the Orioles their 10th win in 13 extra-inning games this season. “You know you have a tough task when you go up against [Hernandez],” Davis said. “You can’t just go out there and take pitches. He throws a lot of strikes, so you just have to kind of grind him out. Obviously, their bullpen is pretty solid, too. It was big to get a hit at that time.” Right-hander Kevin Gausman matched Hernandez, rebounding from a four-inning outing on Sunday in Oakland. He held the Mariners scoreless for the first five innings and recorded his second-longest outing of the season, allowing one run over 6 2/3 innings to give the Orioles their fifth straight quality start. Against a Mariners team that has managed just one run over the first 19 innings of this series, the Orioles needed just two solo homers to win. Davis’ homer and Nelson Cruz’s second-inning blast were seven innings apart, but they did the job. With the win, the Orioles (57-45) guaranteed themselves at least a .500 record on their 10-game West Coast road trip and have won four of their past five. They have won 16 of their past 23 games on the road and are 16-9 against the American League West this season. Davis took a 1-2 slider over the middle of the plate and sent a towering blast over the right-field fence. “It was up in the zone, and he hit it out of the park," Furbush said. "It was the pitch I wanted to throw. I just left it up.” And even though Davis has struggled matching 2013's historic 53-homer season, seven of Davis’ 17 homers this season have given the Orioles the lead.
Chris Davis hits a solo homer in top of 10th as Orioles beat the Mariners, 2-1
Baltimore Sun | Jul 26