CHICAGO (AP) — Scott Feldman envisioned big things for Chris Davis. Now that they’re united again, he gets to see it up close.
Davis hit his major league-leading 32nd homer and added a tiebreaking two-run double to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
“I think the big thing with him is just getting the opportunity,” said Feldman, his teammate in Texas. “He’s always been a really talented and strong guy. He’d go down to the minor leagues and do the same thing every time. But then he’d get back up, and it was kind of inconsistent with the playing time. It was a different situation over there, obviously.”
Feldman wasn’t bad in his first appearance for Baltimore, pitching six solid innings. And the Orioles hung on to win for the fifth time in six games after the White Sox threatened against Jim Johnson in the ninth.
Chicago had the tying runs on after Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger singled with one out, putting men on first and second. Johnson struck out Gordon Beckham looking and retired pinch-hitter Jordan Danks on a bouncer to the mound for his 29th save in 34 attempts.
Davis delivered the big hits for Baltimore.
“I think it’s more a feeling of comfort than anything else,” he said. “I feel comfortable in the box. I feel like I’m seeing the ball well and getting good pitches to hit. I feel comfortable hitting with no strikes, one strike or two strikes.”
Already the club record holder for home runs before the All-Star break, he added to it leading off the fourth against Hector Santiago when he drove the first pitch just inside the foul pole to the left-field bullpen. That gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead, which Beckham wiped out when he led off the fifth with his first homer, but Davis came through again with one out in the eighth.
He greeted Matt Thornton with two-run double on the first pitch he saw after Nick Markakis and Adam Jones singled off Matt Lindstrom (2-3), giving the Orioles a 4-2 lead.
“They’ve got a guy that’s hitting .330,” Beckham said. “Driving in a million runs and hitting a million home runs. He’s really good. It’s tough to say anything about our side, when he’s doing what he’s doing.”
Baltimore loaded the bases against Ramon Troncoso in the ninth, but Manny Machado forced the runner at the plate and Jones popped out to end the threat.
Darren O’Day (4-0) pitched a scoreless seventh and Tommy Hunter worked the eighth before Johnson dodged that jam in the ninth.
Feldman looked sharp for Baltimore after being acquired in a trade with the Cubs the previous day. The right-hander allowed two runs and six hits and struck out six without a walk despite staying up until about 4 a.m. after flying back from Oakland — mostly because of the excitement.
He knew when he signed a one-year deal with the rebuilding Cubs there was a good chance he’d be dealt if he pitched well, and that’s exactly what happened. He landed on a contender that’s now 11 games over .500, matching a season high.
“I’m going to miss those guys, but I’m looking forward to a fresh start here and trying to get into the playoffs and do some things in the postseason,” Feldman said.
Santiago pitched well, giving up two runs and five hits in seven innings. The left-hander tied a season-high with nine strikeouts while walking two after getting hit hard in his previous start against Cleveland. But on a night when the Stanley Cup made an appearance, with the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp and Brandon Bollig throwing out first pitches, the White Sox took their 24th loss in 33 games.
There was more bad news for the last-place White Sox, with slugger Paul Konerko (strained lower back) and reliever Jesse Crain (strained right shoulder) going on the 15-day disabled list.
“I think if there’s anything that could go wrong this year for the White Sox, it’s gone wrong,” said Crain, one of Chicago’s top trade assets.
NOTES: The Orioles optioned IF Danny Valencia to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Feldman. … RHP Kevin Gausman will remain in bullpen for now, although manager Buck Showalter indicated Baltimore’s top pitching prospect could wind up back in the rotation at some point. “We have 70-something games left,” he said. “We have to do some things between now and the All-Star break. He and Zach (Britton), both of them have options, we like them both on the club. I think these things kind of solve themselves.” … With Konerko and Crain on the DL, the White Sox recalled 3B Brent Morel from Triple-A Charlotte and purchased the contract of LHP David Purcey from the minor league club. … Rios picked up his 200th steal when he swiped second in the first inning. … The start of the game was delayed seven minutes by rain. … LHP Zach Britton (2-2, 4.50 ERA) starts Thursday for Baltimore, with LHP Jose Quintana (3-2, 3.97) pitching for Chicago.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)