On Monday night in Pittsburgh, Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles broke out of a slump in a big way with three home runs as the Orioles defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-2.
Davis, who led the major leagues last year with 53 home runs, 138 RBI, and 370 total bases, struggled in 2014 with just three home runs, largely because of an oblique muscle strain. After striking out and singling in his first two at-bats, he homered in his last three trips to the plate. Even more remarkably, he did it on just four pitches, homering in the fifth inning on Francisco Liriano’s first pitch, homering off of Jared Hughes’ first pitch to him in the seventh, and lighting it up the third time on Jeanmar Gomez’s second pitch to him in the ninth.
Davis has hit three homers in a game before; on August 24 he went deep three times against the Blue Jays in Camden Yards as the Orioles won, 6-4. But that time the first baseman homered in his first three at-bats, giving him a chance to tie the major-league record of four in a game, but struck out against Brad Lincoln in his last at-bat.
Davis had a mild slump before Monday’s game, going 0-for-7 in his previous two games over the weekend, but after the game he told Jim Palmer and Gary Thorne that batting practice before Monday’s game made a big difference:
I got up here early today to hit on the field and just kind of work on some things. I just felt like my body was a little bit disconnected. I felt like my hands were all over the place, really out in front, and my lower half wasn’t really working. So, I got a little synced up in early BP and it just kind of clicked for me.
The struggles of Davis have not been due to a loss in his batting eye; in 2014 has had the lowest strikeout rate of his career and the highest walk rate. All that’s been missing is his power. But with the three home runs last night, Davis may have found his groove. It comes just in time; with the victory, the Orioles climbed into first place in the AL East.