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June 20, 2013

What You Need to Know

The Outstanding Oriole

by Daniel Rathman


The Wednesday Takeaway
If you asked knowledgeable fans to choose the top two hitters in the American League over the first two-plus months of the 2013 season, Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis would undoubtedly be popular choices.

The lefty-swinging Oriole and the righty-batting Tiger went toe-to-toe at Comerica Park this week, in a series that came down to yesterday afternoon’s rubber match. Cabrera’s first-inning home run was all the help that Max Scherzer would need to propel the Tigers to victory in the opener. And, after watching his teammates clobber Justin Verlander to even the series while he himself brought an 0-for-4 back to the hotel, Davis decided to take matters into his own hands in game three.

Davis fell into a 6-for-31 lull earlier this month, going homer-less and striking out 11 times between June 4 and June 11. But those who wondered if his third week-long drought of the season might finally spell the end of his surge can officially stop wondering. He went 9-for-25 with four big flies in the six games preceding Tuesday’s 0-fer, and after a one-day hiatus, the 27-year-old turned in his first multi-homer showing since May 29.

With three hits—two long balls and a double—to go with five RBI, Davis paved the way for the Orioles in their 13-3, series-clinching rout, which put the skids on an impressive string of performances by Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello. The 25-year-old Porcello had allowed only one homer in his previous four trips to the mound, lowering his ERA from 6.28 to 4.37 in the process. Davis matched that total with a fourth-inning blast that plated two, and Taylor Teagarden drilled a three-run bomb later in the frame to give the visitors to a 6-1 lead.

The Tigers halved that gap in the bottom of the sixth, sending Chris Tillman to the showers with only 15 outs under his belt, but a leaky bullpen prevented them from mounting a more serious threat. By the ninth, the Orioles enjoyed a comfortable, 9-3, advantage, and Davis was ready to put the cherry on top.

He did so with a two-run round-tripper off of Jose Valverde, who coughed up four runs in the mop-up appearance, sending a 2-2 splitter over 400 feet to right field. Davis’ homer off of Porcello was an opposite-field shot on a first-pitch fastball, and together, the long balls continued an all-fields trend that has been a key component of the slugger’s success.

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<< Previous Article
In A Pickle: The Sexy,... (06/20)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (06/21)
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Premium Article Skewed Left: Preparing... (06/20)

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