BALTIMORE — Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis didn’t make history with his bat Saturday night; instead he picked up a key late error that led to a 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards.
Davis didn’t handle a one-out grounder by Aaron Hicks in the top of the ninth; he punched his fist into his mitt as the ball squirted into right.
Three batters later, Justin Morneau laced a two-out single against Jim Johnson (0-1) to break a 5-5 tie.
Minnesota closer Glen Perkins picked up his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
The Orioles (3-2) have scored five or more runs in each of their games this season. This one, though, wasn’t exactly filled with offensive firepower.
The Orioles scored on a 25-foot squibber, an error, a broken-bat blooper and a two-run single up the middle.
Davis was one of four players in baseball history to start a season by hitting a home run in four straight games.
Yet he didn’t enter the record books alone with a fifth longball. He did, however, add to his major league leading RBI total of 17 with a blooper in the third against Minnesota right-hander Vance Worley.
By driving in a run Sunday, Davis can tie the club record for most games with an RBI to start the season.
“I wasn’t actually thinking I need to hit a homer,” Davis said. “My mindset was more, drive in runs. Homers come and go, they come in bunches.”
Davis’ third-inning single was one of three times on Saturday that Manny Machado scored. The third baseman also made several tremendous defensive plays, which is becoming a nightly occurrence.
Adam Jones, who had two more hits and is batting .522, drove home Machado and Nate McLouth in the fifth to tie the game at 5-5.
Jones also had a RBI single in the first in one of the more bizarre plays of the young season. With Machado at third and Nick Markakis — who had four of the club’s 11 hits — at second, Jones tapped a slow roller about a third of the way down the third base line.
As Machado raced home, Worley picked the ball up and tried to get Jones out at first, throwing wildly and allowing Markakis to charge home from second base on the error.
The announced crowd of 40,704 rose to its feet as Jones’ accidental hit gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead.
The offense bailed out right-hander Chris Tillman, who came off the disabled list Saturday to start against the Twins (2-2).
Bothered by abdomen soreness, Tillman hadn’t faced major leaguer hitters since a Grapefruit League game on March 3. His last outing was against the State College of Florida on March 29. Earlier this week, Tillman said he had no pain at all in the abdomen, and said he just wanted to get back against real competition.
It wasn’t what he had been hoping for: five runs allowed in just 32 / 3 innings pitched. He permitted five or more earned runs only once in 15 starts last season, when he was 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA.
— Baltimore Sun