BALTIMORE –- Deep in a slump Chris Davis said on Tuesday night he’d have to stop swinging at pitches outside the strike zone. A day later, he hit two long home runs.
Davis’ second homer with one out in the eighth sent the Orioles to a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros before 16,401 at Oriole Park on Wednesday.
Tony Sipp’s first pitch to Davis landed deep into the right field seats. Sipp (2-2) was brought in for a left-on-left matchup. It didn’t work.
Brad Brach (3-0) got his second win in three days against Houston (30-18). He pitched a perfect eighth.
Zach Britton worked the ninth for his 12th save.
Brach, who is 10-1 in two seasons with the Orioles, loved to come to this ballpark as a kid in New Jersey to watch Cal Ripken. Now, he’s watching Davis.
“Any time you see that swing and he makes contact and the ball hit to right field you know it’s going to the bleachers. You just want to see how far it goes,” Brach said.
Coming into the game, Davis was 4-for-42. After getting the day off on Monday, Davis drove in the Orioles’ only run in Tuesday’s game with a sacrifice fly, and he had the two home runs. It was his first multi-home run game since he hit three in Pittsburgh last May 20.
"Swung at a couple breaking balls earlier in the count. Thought I did a better job of making an adjustment and making him throw it in the zone. That's big not just for me but for everyone in the lineup. I think the reputation on this team is out. A lot of teams are changing speed earlier in the count and trying to get us to chase,” Davis said.
Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, Jimmy Paredes doubled and Adam Jones dropped a bunt down and beat it out. With Davis up, the Orioles pulled off a double steal. Paredes’ steal of home was the first since Jones did it last Aug. 28.
Manager Buck Showalter isn’t usually an advocate of the steal.
“With Buck it's never out of the question to do something like that. When I saw Adam take off and I saw the throw go down to second, I took my eyes off the second baseman or the shortstop and I looked at Jimmy, so I didn't really see what the shortstop did. But Jimmy did a great job of getting to the outside and getting his hand in. That's just little things like that can put the momentum back in the team's dugout,” Davis said.
Davis followed with a long home run to right, his ninth of the season, and his first since May 11.
Steve Pearce was next and homered to left, his sixth of the season, and the Orioles first back-to-back home runs of the season.
That gave the Orioles (21-23) a 4-1 lead.
Ubaldo Jimenez allowed a second-inning run on singles to Evan Gattis, Colby Rasmus and a double by Chris Carter.
Of the 10 hits he allowed in seven innings, four were doubles.
“They have a really good lineup, but they're pretty aggressive. You have to make pitches down or they're going to be swinging right away,” Jimenez said.
In the sixth, Gattis’ double, Rasmus’ bunt single and a walk to Luis Valbuena loaded the bases with one out. Jimenez struck out Carter and retired Jason Castro on a fly to center.
Houston tied the score in the seventh on one-out singles by George Springer and Jose Altuve, a fielder’s choice by Preston Tucker that scored Springer and a two-run home run by Gattis, his 10th.
"I thought Ubaldo was really good. He deserved a lot better fate,” Showalter said. “It's just unfortunate. He really pitched well. He deserved a lot better."
Brach benefited from Pearce’s two-run home run in the seventh on Monday.
“I’m just glad to be out when we’re winning games. Just being the right guy at the right time and hopefully I can be the right guy out there for a few more times coming up,” Brach said.
NOTES: Tyler Wilson (1-0, 4.50) and Mike Wright (1-0, 0.00) start Thursday’s doubleheader against Chicago’s Chris Sale (3-2, 4.21) and Chris Beck (Major League Debut). Wilson and Wright are the first Orioles rookies to start a doubleheader since Steve Johnson and Wei-Yin Chen on Sept. 24, 2012. The first game begins at 1:05 p.m. … The game started after a rain delay of one hour, 11 minutes. … In his second rehab start, Bud Norris allowed four runs on six hits in five innings at Bowie. He struck out seven and walked none. … The Orioles did not draw a walk for the seventh time this season.