PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chris Davis had been searching since spring training for the power stroke that produced 53 home runs last season.
It reappeared in a big way Tuesday night as Davis hit three home runs, doubling his season total, and drove in five runs to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Davis hit a two-run blast during a four-run fifth inning off Francisco Liriano (0-4) that put the Orioles ahead 6-1. He hit a solo shot in the seventh off Jared Hughes and two-run homer in the ninth off Jeanmar Gomez.
It was Davis’ second career three-homer game – the other came on Aug. 24, 2012 against Toronto – and seventh multi-homer game.
After leading the major leagues and setting a franchise record for homers last season, Davis hit three in his first 30 games.
Davis was on the disabled list with a strained left oblique from April 26-May 11, an injury that had sapped his power. His frustration reached a boiling point Sunday when he went 0-for-4 in a loss to the Royals at Kansas City.
“I felt like I just had some good pitches to hit and I rolled over everything, so I got here early today and worked on some stuff in early (batting practice),” said Davis, who also singled in the fourth inning. “It just sometimes clicks for you and today was one of those days.”
“Even in spring training, there were some at-bats where I would feel good and have good results, but I just didn’t feel like I was right and then obviously with the injury, missing some time coming back, my timing was all screwed up.”
Nelson Cruz also homered, following Davis’ shot in the fifth, to give the Orioles their second set of back-to-back homers of the season. Adam Jones had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.
Miguel Gonzalez (2-3) pitched six innings for Baltimore, allowing two runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
“It was a great night to be out there as a pitcher,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of run support and a lot of great defense.”
Liriano (0-4) allowed six runs and nine hits in five innings for Pittsburgh and is now winless in 13 consecutive regular-season starts since last Sept. 10 at Texas.
“I was leaving too many pitches over the middle of the plate,” Liriano said. “I was missing my spots a lot and I couldn’t repeat two good pitches in a row. I wasn’t executing my pitches with men on base and the bases empty.”
Ike Davis homered for the Pirates, his second in 27 games since being acquired from the New York in a trade on April 18, in the seventh inning. Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen had two hits each.
Baltimore won for third time in nine games while Pittsburgh lost for the sixth time in eight games.
NOTES: Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy threw 18 pitches in an extended spring training game Tuesday at Sarasota, Florida, the first time the organization’s top prospect had faced hitters from another organization since undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery last June. … Baltimore C Matt Wieters, on the disabled list with a strained right elbow, said he is feeling considerably better after having a platelet-rich plasma injection last week and should be activated long before the projected date of July 1. … Pirates LF Starling Marte returned to the lineup after a strained left hamstring forced him to leave the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Yankees at New York and went 0-for-4. … The Orioles are 18-9 in night games but 6-11 in the day. … The two-game series concludes on Wednesday night with Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman (4-2, 3.34) facing Pittsburgh LHP Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 6.84).
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