BALTIMORE — Before Sunday’s first-half finale, the Baltimore Orioles held a ceremony honoring all five of their players bound for the All-Star Game. But as he has on nearly every occasion this season, Chris Davis loomed largest, powering the Orioles to a 7-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays before a crowd of 34,748 at Camden Yards.
Davis hit his 37th home run of the season to tie Reggie Jackson in 1969 for most homers by an American Leaguer before the all-star break. Before his two-run shot — a low line drive off Blue Jays starter Josh Johnson that barely cleared the left field fence in the third inning — Davis kicked off his 2-for-4 day with a double that scored two runs in the first.
Asked about his mammoth first-half numbers — a .315 average, 93 RBI, an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.032 — Davis joked: “It means I just take the second half off and coast.”
The first baseman then credited others.
“It’s something definitely to be proud of, means I’ve been doing my job, but it also speaks volumes to the guys in front of me getting on base, swinging the bats well,” he said.
Davis’s double was the big blow during a first-inning bombardment that featured all four of the Orioles’ all-star position players: Davis, Manny Machado, Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy. The Orioles (53-43) sent eight men to the plate in the inning, welcoming Johnson with four runs on five hits. Jones closed out an impressive first half of his own with his 19th homer, two RBI and three runs scored.
Winner Scott Feldman (1-1) made the lead stand up, striking out seven in 71
3 innings. He allowed three runs on five hits in his third start since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs.
The Blue Jays (45-49) made things interesting late, picking up runs in the eighth and ninth to force Manager Buck Showalter to call on closer Jim Johnson. The right-hander quelled the comeback, striking out Jose Reyes with men on first and third to nail down his league-leading 33rd save.
“We’ve grinded like heck through the season, all the challenges, and got a chance to roll the dice for 66 games to see if we can get to play in October,” Showalter said. “We’ve positioned ourselves to have that opportunity.”