BOSTON – Buck Showalter’s Orioles have the best start in franchise history. Never have these Orioles, who won three World Series, started a season with six consecutive wins.
On Monday, the Orioles surpassed the 1970 iteration, which won 108 games and the World Series and began the season with five wins in succession.
To be sure, Showalter is enjoying the ride, but as always he’s being cautious.
“It’s just six games we don’t have to win now. There’s not much conversation about it at all unless you guys ask them and then they have to think up some answer. They’re more interested in the end of the season. We’ve got, what, 156 more? So, grab a seat,” Showalter said.
If you had taken Showalter’s advice and grabbed a seat for the ninth inning, you would have watched Chris Davis slam a mammoth ninth inning three-run home run into the batter’s eye in center field that was measured at 449 feet.
Davis’ home run sent the Orioles on their way to a 9-7 win over the Boston Red Sox before 37,160 at Fenway Park on Monday.
It was Boston’s home opener and the center of attention was another slugger, David Ortiz, who is retiring after this season.
Ortiz came into play in the bottom of the ninth after Mookie Betts hit a home run off Zach Britton and Dustin Pedroia singled and Xander Bogaerts walked.
Pitching coach Dave Wallace ambled to the mound and foretold Britton what would happen.
He looked at me and told me, ‘Hey, I like where you are right now,’” Britton said.
“Obviously, not with the baserunners, but where I was getting to with my delivery. He could see it. I was starting to slow down a little bit. He was like, ‘Hey, a groundball right here and a strikeout. Let’s go. Let’s get it.’”
Ortiz hit into a double play, Hanley Ramirez struck out, and Britton had his third save.
“That was like two games in one game. It felt like a long game, maybe it was just me,” Davis said.
Davis’ home run was his third of the season and capped off a five-RBI game that included a two-run single a five-run third.
He had the single off Boston (3-3) starter David Price, who didn’t have his best stuff, and the home run off new closer Craig Kimbrel (0-1).
“We knew we were going to have our work cut out, first road trip, opening day for those guys, they were going to be jacked up,” Davis said.
“I know we didn’t necessarily need a three-run home run, but we’ll take it.”
Davis wasn’t the only Orioles offensive hero. There was Mark Trumbo, who had his first extra-base hit for the Orioles, a three-run homer that immediately followed Davis’ single.
Trumbo’s first nine Orioles hits were singles.
“I knew one of them would go for extra bases but it was fun to get the RBI too. It was something I hadn’t done yet, either. You know it’s going to happen, you just don't know when. It was a great situation for it,” Trumbo said.
He’s blended seamlessly into the team.
“It’s great. You win, it’s going to be a great clubhouse, great environment. But I think it’s been established here. These guys are used to winning, coming back late in games and that’s invaluable,” Trumbo said.
Brad Brach (2-0), who has pitched 5 1/3 hitless innings this season, worked the eighth.
Yovani Gallardo gave up five runs on seven hits in five innings, and got to watch the fun after he left.
“I’ve said it since Day 1, guys are going to hit. Seeing it on the other side of the dugout. And now in this clubhouse, on this team. They hit you with everything,” Gallardo said.
Adam Jones, who hadn’t played in the last three games, was inserted into the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning. By doing that, Jones, who has been hampered by a rib cage injury, can’t have a possible disabled list visit backdated to last Thursday.
“The more I thought about it, when he plays – maybe it’s tomorrow, maybe it’s the next day – if he has a big problem with it, it’s not going to be five days, it’s going to be 15. So, I said, ‘The heck with it. We’re going to try to win a game here,’” Showalter said.
NOTES: Brian Matusz allowed six runs on seven hits in one inning for Bowie. …Joey Rickard is the first Orioles rookie to begin a season with hits in his first six games. …The Orioles’ five-run third inning ended their 31-inning scoreless streak at Fenway. … Matt Wieters tied a career high by striking out four times. … Dating back to last season, the Orioles have won 11 straight games.