TORONTO (AP) — Chris Davis made his milestone moment matter to the wild card-chasing Orioles.
Davis hit his major league-leading 50th home run, a tiebreaking solo shot in the eighth inning, and Baltimore erased a 3-0 deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Friday night, snapping a three-game losing streak.
“It’s nice to have personal goals and to reach your own goals but when the team is winning and you are successful, it makes it that much sweeter,” Davis said. “It was big to come from behind and get the win.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he was happy to see Davis to reach the mark in such meaningful fashion.
“Everybody pulls so hard for him because he’s such a good teammate, and so humble about the good things that he’s had happen to him this year,” Showalter said. “He’s just an easy guy to pull for.”
Davis became the 27th major leaguer to join the 50-homer club, and the first since Jose Bautista in 2010, when he led off the eighth with a blast to center off All-Star reliever Steve Delabar, connecting on a 2-2 pitch.
“I knew I barreled it up,” Davis said. “I tried to go the other way there with two strikes. I’ve faced Steve a few times. You can’t look for his split, as hard as he throws. I was just trying to put a good swing on it and stay through it.”
The drive matched Brady Anderson’s 1996 Orioles record and made Davis just the third player in major league history with 50 homers and 40 doubles in the same season. The others were Babe Ruth (1921) and Albert Belle (1995).
“It’s a humbling feeling to be in the same company with the guys I’m in,” Davis said.
Davis has hit seven home runs off Blue Jays pitching this season and has 15 against Toronto since the start of the 2012 season, the most by any opponent.
“He’s having a great year,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He’s so strong he hits them anywhere. It’s got nothing to do with the park here. Some guys will get some cheapies here. He doesn’t get any cheapies.”
Orioles fan Steve Houff of Ellicott City, Md., was in the center field seats with four friends, close to where Davis’ homer landed.
Houff said he paid around $100 to buy the ball from the Toronto fan who caught it, giving it to Davis in exchange for a signed bat, signed balls for his group, several photographs and the promise of free tickets for the remainder of the weekend from a grateful Orioles staffer.
Adam Jones followed Davis’ blast with an infield hit and, two outs later, moved up on Ryan Flaherty’s walk before scoring on Danny Valencia’s RBI single.
Tommy Hunter (5-4) worked 1 2/3 innings for the win and Jim Johnson finished for his 44th save in 53 chances, rebounding after his wild pitch helped the New York Yankees beat Baltimore 6-5 on Thursday.
Hunter, who was Davis’ teammate in Texas before both players were traded to the Orioles in 2011, said he marvels as much as anyone at his good friend’s superb season.
“I’ve seen him hit multiple home runs in multiple games,” Hunter said. “He’s a pretty strong man, he works hard and he goes about his business.”
The Orioles, who had lost four of their previous five, came in 2 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay in the race for the second AL wild-card berth. They gained ground on the New York Yankees, who lost 8-4 at Boston.
Delabar (5-4) allowed two runs and three hits in one inning, losing his second straight appearance. The right-hander also lost to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
Adam Lind hit a two-run home run and Colby Rasmus returned from the disabled list with a solo shot, but the Blue Jays suffered their fourth straight defeat.
Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion returned to the lineup at designated hitter after missing the past four games with a sore left wrist, and helped the Blue Jays open the scoring in the fourth. Encarnacion drew a two-out walk before Lind drilled Jason Hammel’s next pitch into the seats for his 20th home run.
Activated off the 15-day disabled list before the game after missing more than a month with a strained muscle in his left side, Rasmus made it 3-0 with a solo blast off Hammel to begin the fifth, his 19th.
Toronto starter Todd Redmond left one out after Jones doubled to open the seventh. Dustin McGowan came on and gave up an RBI double to J.J. Hardy, then walked Flaherty.
Valencia popped out but Steve Clevenger tied it with a double that bounced over the head of right fielder Moises Sierra. Nate McLouth walked before Sergio Santos came on and struck out Manny Machado to end the inning.
Redmond allowed one run and three hits in a career-high 6 1-3 innings. He walked none and struck out seven.
“He threw a whale of a game we just didn’t get any outs,” Gibbons said.
Singles by Brett Lawrie and Rasmus gave the Blue Jays runners at the corners with one out in the seventh, bringing Hunter on in relief of T.J. McFarland. Hunter escaped by fanning Sierra and J.P. Arencibia.
Hammel started for the Orioles in place of Bud Norris, who was scratched Wednesday with a sore right elbow. He allowed three runs and three hits in five innings, walked one and struck out two.
NOTES: Anderson hit his final three homers of the 1996 season in Toronto, connecting off Cy Young Award winner Pat Hentgen for his 50th on Sept. 29. … Redmond pitched in five games with Baltimore during spring training but was claimed on waivers by Toronto in late March. … Orioles RHP Darren O’Day had two injections in his right hand Friday to relieve numbness and tingling in his fingers, an ailment that has kept him off the mound since Sept. 7. … Baltimore C Matt Wieters got the day off after catching six of the past seven games. Wieters is expected to catch back-to-back day games Saturday and Sunday. … The Orioles selected INF Dan Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk and placed OF Henry Urrutia on the restricted list. The Cuban rookie is prohibited from entering Canada due to visa issues.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)