By JEFF BARTL
(AP) — Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter insisted that benching struggling slugger Chris Davis against the Chicago White Sox simply was to get Delmon Young more at-bats.
Showalter may have been the only one who believed that notion, but everyone now is aware of how Davis responds to such a predicament.
Davis tries to build off his series-opening heroics as the Orioles look to deal the White Sox a ninth consecutive road loss Tuesday night.
After leading the majors with 53 homers and 138 RBIs in 2013, Davis entered Monday’s contest hitting .216 and was 4 for 36 with 14 strikeouts over his previous nine.
“Lately I just haven’t been very good,” Davis said before the game. “I know I’m going to get an opportunity to come out of it.”
Davis got his chance with one out in the ninth and hit a pinch-hit, three-run homer to give Baltimore a 6-4 victory. Young went 3 for 4 for the Orioles (40-35), who have outscored opponents 20-5 during a three-game winning streak.
Showalter said Davis will be back in the starting lineup Tuesday.
“There’s no woe is me,” Showalter said. “He knows at some point the club’s going to need a good at-bat from him and he prepared himself for it.”
Davis’ previous home run was a grand slam last Tuesday against Tampa Bay that helped Miguel Gonzalez pick up a 7-5 victory in his return from the disabled list.
Gonzalez (4-4, 4.41 ERA) went 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA in his last four starts before landing on the DL on May 31 with a strained right oblique. He allowed four runs and eight hits – including a pair of homers – in five innings against the Rays.
“I felt great,” Gonzalez said. “Next time, (I) just (have to go) out there and try to make pitches when you need to.”
The right-hander’s only career start against the White Sox came when he opposed Jose Quintana on Aug. 5, giving up one run and striking out six in seven innings of a 3-1 victory.
Quintana (3-7, 3.87) will be on the mound for this contest as he looks to help the White Sox (35-42) avoid a sixth straight loss overall.
The left-hander had dropped three straight starts while allowing at least four runs in each before giving up two and striking out six in seven innings of Chicago’s 4-2 loss to Minnesota on Thursday.
The White Sox’s offense again failed to provide much support for Quintana, who has received six runs over his last four outings.
“He just continues to pitch,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I don’t think he sits there and begs for runs, but I’m sure he’d like some runs.”
Quintana didn’t get much help from his offense the last two times he faced Baltimore, either. He allowed two hits and struck out 11 over seven scoreless innings before the White Sox won 3-2 on Adam Dunn’s ninth-inning homer July 4, then gave up three runs in seven while opposing Gonzalez in August.
Davis is 0 for 6 with two strikeouts lifetime off Quintana, but Adam Jones is 3 for 6 with two homers. Jones homered in Monday’s contest, his fourth in eight games.
White Sox slugger Jose Abreu had an RBI groundout in the third, hit his 22nd homer in the sixth and drove in a run with a double in the seventh. Ronald Belisario couldn’t hold the lead, though, blowing his third save in his last eight chances.
“You’ve got to be able to close it out,” Ventura said. “It’s not easy, especially when they got a guy like Chris on their bench.”
The White Sox rank last in the majors with a 4.92 road ERA.
Related Stories – Baltimore Orioles:
- Orioles Auctioning Orange Spring Training Jerseys For Charity
- Orioles Announce Kevin Gausman As Opening Day Starter
- Roch Kubatko Of MASN Sports On Possibilities For The Orioles Opening Day Roster
- Baltimore’s Adam Jones is Back from Team USA
- The Norris & Long Show Best Of – Week Of March 25th