Matt Davidson’s bat is so hot that the White Sox still had plenty even after Avisail Garcia’s ejection on Thursday afternoon.
Davidson homered for the fourth game in a row and also jump-started the game-winning rally as the White Sox downed the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 at Guaranteed Rate Field. The leadoff homer blasted by Davidson in the fourth inning made him the first White Sox player to homer in four straight games since Alex Rios from April 5-9, 2013. Garcia and manager Rick Renteria were ejected in the bottom of the fifth inning by first-base ump Paul Emmel after arguing about a checked swing.
“He’s been outstanding,” Renteria said. “He’s obviously been able to drive the ball out of the ballpark. He’s been able to get to pitches he can handle.
“He’s been just trying to stay in a particular zone and we’re glad that he’s been able to do what he’s can do. It’s something the whole organization has been hoping he’d be capable of doing and he’s showing signs that he obviously can do it.”
Having already given the White Sox a 1-0 lead earlier with a 404-foot drive to left, Davidson wasn’t done. With the score tied at 1, Davidson sparked a sixth-inning rally with a leadoff double to left off Baltimore starter Chris Tillman. Tillman walked Yolmer Sanchez and Kevan Smith picked up his third hit and loaded the bases when the Orioles misplayed his sac bunt attempt.
Melky Cabrera ended Tillman’s day with a one-out, two-run single to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead. Reliever Jimmy Yacabonis walked the first two batters he faced (Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu), the latter forcing in a run. After taking over for Avisail Garcia in the top of the sixth, Leury Garcia’s sac fly gave the White Sox a 5-1 lead.
Davidson finished 2-for-4 with an RBI. He went 7-for-15 with four home runs and eight RBIs in the series. Davidson is one shy of tying the team record for most consecutive games with a homer, a feat accomplished seven times by six players. AJ Pierzynski was the last White Sox player to homer in five straight gaames in 2012.
His current run comes days after he wrapped up an 0-for-13 stretch with nine strikeouts. Looking to get going, Davidson followed Todd Frazier into the bullpen and stood in --- without swinging --- against White Sox pitchers during their practice sessions to better see pitches.
Frazier credited the practice for his hot June and suggested Davidson would soon heat up. Davidson thinks it helped as well.
“That’s something that has always kind of been out there,” Davidson said. “If you’re not seeing it really well to go in and try to get a little more game-like reps just because (batting practice) and flips and stuff in the cage doesn’t really translate over to the game. We’ve got some really good arms. Standing in on some of those guys kind of makes you relaxed and makes you realize it’s the same thing you’re going to see that night.”
Avisail Garcia’s ejection is the only thing to slow him down recently. The right fielder had singled in his first two trips, giving him eight hits in 15 at-bats in the series with six RBIs. Garcia fell behind Tillman in the count 0-2 in the fifth inning and tried to check his swing on a slider in the dirt. Emmel ruled Garcia went around and he threw his arms up as he walked toward the dugout before turning back and glaring at the umpire, pointing his fingers at his own eyes as if to suggest he was watching Emmel. That move led to Garcia’s ejection (the first of his career) and Renteria raced out of the dugout to express his displeasure. Renteria was ejected for the second time this season and eighth in his career.
White Sox starter David Holmberg, who delivered 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball before handing it over to the bullpen, thought Renteria’s ejection fired up the White Sox. A former minor league teammate of Davidson’s with Arizona, Holmberg said his teammate’s performance has some familiarity to it.
“Pretty impressive, pretty impressive,” Holmberg said. “I played with Matt back in the day, all the way back in 2011 and I've seen him go on runs like this and it's fun to watch up here.”