Eighth-inning grand slam by Orioles' Davis sinks Twins

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 6, 2013 - 12:16 AM

The Orioles slugger homered for the fourth time in four games, this time belting a game-winning grand slam.

view larger photos


– Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. Maybe when a guy’s power stroke is putting him in the company of Willie Mays and Mark Mc-Gwire in baseball history, the pitcher and the situation and the location of the pitch matter about as much as what he had for breakfast.

But the Twins can’t help but feel that circumstances conspired to beat them Friday almost as much as Chris Davis did.

The Orioles’ first baseman continued his record-shattering hot streak during Baltimore’s home opener, clubbing Tyler Robertson’s first-pitch fastball 10 rows deep into the left-field stands in the eighth inning, an opposite-field grand slam that carried the Orioles to a 9-5 victory over the Twins.

“When you leave the ball up to a guy, especially when he’s hot, they’re going to hit it hard, somewhere,” Robertson said after the Twins dropped their fourth straight game in Camden Yards. “I mean, he barely swung. He’s just on fire now.”

As fires go, this one is basically Chicago 1871, leveling every pitcher who dares challenge him. Davis has homered in all four of the Orioles’ games this season (he has 11 in Baltimore’s last 11 games, too), something that only Mays in 1971, McGwire in 1998 and Nelson Cruz in 2011 have ever done before. He’s batting .600 and, by driving in five runs on Friday, now has 16 RBI — or more than 25 other teams had entering the day.

With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, Robertson was brought into a tie game specifically to get the left-handed-hitting Davis, and he tried to start out by keeping a fastball low and away. The away part he managed. But “it wasn’t down,” the left-handed Robertson said. “If it was down, maybe something else happens.”

Manager Ron Gardenhire wanted something else to happen; specifically, a breaking pitch. “My pitcher threw a fastball. I would hope that you would bring a lefthander in to throw a slider,” Gardenhire said. “I don’t want to see fastball. We’ll have to talk about that.”

But the manager admitted the situation could have been avoided to begin with. For one thing, setup man Jared Burton was unavailable, having thrown a total of 22 pitches Wednesday and Thursday; the Twins don’t want to risk his shoulder by pitching him on three straight days. And closer Glen Perkins doesn’t normally enter games until the ninth. That meant Casey Fien pitched the eighth, and the righthander twice got ahead of hitters 0-2 and ended up allowing hits, one a broken-bat single by Nolan Reimold to lead off the inning, the other a potential double-play ground ball by Adam Jones that instead got through to the outfield and tied the score.

“I got some bad swings,” Fien said, “but they got the holes.”

He also made a snap decision to play it safe on a sacrifice bunt back to the mound. Fien picked it up and looked at third base but chose not to try to force Reimold at third. “He just didn’t throw it. That’s big — he definitely had him,” Gardenhire said. Had he gotten the force, “now it’s first and second, one out. Yeah, that’s a big play.”

Getting the lead runner would have allowed Fien to face Nick Markakis, and “maybe my cutter in would have been good to get a ground ball right there,” Fien said. But “I just wanted to get an out.”

He did, then intentionally walked Markakis to load the bases. Jones’ ground-ball single drove in the tying run — “We got a ground ball,” Gardenhire said, “it just wasn’t at someone.” — and Robertson relieved Fien. One pitch later, the Twins’ carefully built 5-4 lead was history.

Major league history.

  • related content

  • Game recap: Baltimore over Twins

    Saturday April 6, 2013

    GAME RECAPImpact playerChris Davis, BaltimoreHe’s homered in all four Orioles games, and Friday’s blast was his best yet, an opposite-field...

  • Twins pitcher De Vries goes on disabled list

    Saturday April 6, 2013

    “It just came right back again,” De Vries said of the tightness in his right forearm, a discomfort that the Twins will examine with an MRI on Monday in Minneapolis.

  • Postgame: Three thoughts on a four-run loss

    Friday April 5, 2013

    Plouffe had an understandably tough time making force out at third when key play came his way

  • Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Tyler Robertson, left, looks on as Balt...

  • Twins starter Liam Hendriks gave up four runs and eight hits before he was pulled in the fifth inning Friday against Baltimore. Reliever Casey Fien ended up taking the loss when the Orioles rallied in the eighth.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Miami 5 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Nathan 6
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Cincinnati 13 FINAL
Cleveland 2
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
Chicago WSox 6
Kansas City 3 FINAL
Seattle 0
Seattle 1 FINAL
Milwaukee 15
San Diego 3 FINAL
Arizona 3
Washington 3
LA Angels 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
Texas 6
Oakland 6 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Indiana 107 FINAL
Milwaukee 111
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Carolina 5
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Washington 3
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 4 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Nashville 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
NY Rangers 5 FINAL
Ottawa 1
Florida 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
Montreal 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Colorado 4 FINAL
Vancouver 1
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Notre Dame 81
North Carolina 72 FINAL
Wisconsin 79
Evansville 89 FINAL
Louisiana 82
West Virginia 39 FINAL
Kentucky 78
Xavier 60 FINAL
Arizona 68
St Johns 55 FINAL
Villanova 63
NC State 79 FINAL
Temple 80
Missouri 55 FINAL
Michigan 65
Oral Roberts 64 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Duquesne 39 FINAL
West Virginia 60
Ole Miss 70 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 82
Northern Colorado 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 77 FINAL
Sacramento St 69
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: What are you following most closely right now?

Weekly Question