(AP) — Chris Davis is still striking out plenty since the All-Star break. When he’s making contact, however, the Baltimore Orioles are very happy with the results.
Davis seeks to continue his hot hitting Tuesday night when he and the visiting Orioles look to add to the woes of winless Oakland Athletics starter Chris Bassitt in the middle game of this series.
The slugger leads the majors with 132 strikeouts, including 22 since the break to tie for eighth in baseball. He’s also tied for third in the majors with eight homers in that span after his three-run shot Monday helped the Orioles (54-51) post a 9-2 rout for their eighth win in 10 games.
Davis is hitting .292 in his last 17 games to raise his average to .245.
“Chris got us off to a good start there,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s been a force for us for awhile, he always is.”
Davis and the Orioles will get their first look at the luckless Bassitt (0-4, 3.10 ERA), who has posted a 3.00 ERA in his five starts with Oakland (47-60) – a run in which the right-hander has received five runs of total support.
Bassitt went 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA in five starts last year with the Chicago White Sox.
He may have trouble getting much support Tuesday since Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez (9-7, 4.28) has posted a 3.04 ERA in winning four straight road starts for the first time.
Gonzalez turned in a 5.68 ERA over one start and one relief appearance against Oakland in 2013. Brett Lawrie is 2 for 18 against him and Billy Butler has a double in eight at-bats.
Those hitters are among several slumping for the Athletics, losers of eight of 11. Lawrie is in a 1-for-13 slide, Butler a 3-for-22 skid and rookie Billy Burns a 4-for-28 slump.
Stephen Vogt, who has a team-high 59 RBIs, doubled off the wall in right in the sixth to snap an 0-for-28 funk, his second-longest hitless stretch.
The A’s played without right fielder Josh Reddick, who left a 2-1 win over Cleveland the day before with lower back tightness but could return Tuesday.
Help is on the way since utility man Danny Valencia was claimed off waivers from Toronto and was expected to join the club for this game. Valencia batted .296 with an .838 OPS for the Blue Jays, though he is 0 for 4 against Gonzalez.
Coco Crisp went 2 for 4 in his return from the 60-day disabled list after a neck injury sidelined him since May 19.
“I haven’t had that many at-bats from the end of last year, no at-bats really in spring training, so when I came back the first time from elbow surgery I didn’t really have the appropriate time,” Crisp said. “I wanted to wait and make sure I was myself, and I was able to do that.”
The Orioles have committed the majors’ fewest errors with 41, going 14 straight road games without one after some stellar defensive plays Monday. The A’s have a major league-worst 92 errors after committing five in their last five games.
“Our infield guys put on a clinic,” Showalter said. “There are probably four or five plays that are too smooth to get noticed.”