Orioles

Quick Links

Orioles blast Rangers behind two homers from Chris Davis

Orioles blast Rangers behind two homers from Chris Davis

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Chris Davis homered in a six-run first inning, added a grand slam in the fourth and finished with a career-high six RBIs to help the Baltimore Orioles breeze past the Texas Rangers 12-1 on Tuesday night.

It was the 19th career multihomer game for Davis, making his fifth start since coming off the disabled list with an oblique strain. Baltimore's cleanup hitter hadn't gone deep since June 10 and has 16 home runs after hitting 38 last season.

The Orioles scored six runs against Tyson Ross (2-2) before making an out, and that was enough to send Baltimore to its second straight win over Texas following a three-game sweep by the Chicago Cubs.

Dylan Bundy (9-8) allowed one run and four hits in six innings to earn his first victory since June 24.

Vying to stay afloat in the AL playoff picture, Texas pitched poorly and sputtered at the plate. In addition, center fielder Carlos Gomez got his glove around Davis' first-inning drive before the ball escaped over the wall.

Shin-Soo Choo homered for the Rangers, who have lost three in a row and scored only six runs in their last four games.

After Choo hit the 23rd leadoff homer of his career, Baltimore responded with gusto in the bottom of the first. Jonathan Schoop doubled in two runs, Davis followed with the drive that eluded Gomez's grasp and Trey Mancini capped the uprising with a two-run homer.

In the fourth, Ross was lifted after a single, an error and a walk loaded the bases. Davis hit the second pitch from Austin Bibens-Dirkx into the center field seats. It was his eighth career grand slam, the first this season.

Ross gave up nine runs, eight earned, in 3 1/3 innings. He's 0-3 with an 18.23 ERA in eight career games against Baltimore.

Seth Smith homered in the eighth to complete the Orioles' most lopsided win of the season.

NO DAY TRADER

Rangers manager Jeff Banister isn't thinking about buying or selling as the non-waiver trade deadline nears. "We need to go out and win baseball games with these guys," Banister said. "We don't worry about where we are in the division. The bottom line is that we have to go out with this group of players. We believe in these guys."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: Banister said he's "not sold" on the idea of a rehab assignment for RHP Keone Kela (right shoulder soreness) before the reliever comes off the DL. ... LHP Jake Diekman (ulcerative colitis) is in a throwing program and still has hope of playing this season. ... RHP A.J. Griffin (oblique), on the 60-day DL and eligible to be activated on July 26, is set to pitch for Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday. He pitched three scoreless innings Friday for the Rangers rookie league team in Arizona.

Orioles: RHP Hunter Harvey, the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 draft, is slated to start in the Gulf Coast League on Wednesday -- his first outing since elbow ligament replacement surgery last summer.

UP NEXT

Rangers: Martin Perez (5-6, 4.55 ERA) starts Wednesday in the third game of the series. He's 3-0 in his last four starts and his ERA hasn't been this low since May 29.

Orioles: Kevin Gausman (5-7, 6.39 ERA) looks to rebound from a horrid start out of the All-Star break, when he gave up eight runs in three innings against the Cubs.

Quick Links

Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

gausmanhalladay.png
USA Today Sports

Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

BALTIMORE  -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman will wear No. 34 next season as a tribute to Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash last month.

Gausman announced the switch Thursday on his Twitter account. The right-hander wore No. 39 last year.

Gausman and Halladay are both from Colorado, and the Orioles pitcher said he followed Halladay's career closely and idolized him.

In a post next a photo of his new jersey, Gausman wrote: "Roy gave me the inspiration that I could fulfill even my biggest of dreams -- being a pitcher just like him."

Gausman concluded: "The loss of Roy is tragic and saddening, but I feel honored to have watched everything he achieved."

Halladay died on Nov. 7 when his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He played 16 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in each league and being named an All-Star eight times.

Quick Links

Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

usatsi_10381189.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

HOUSTON (AP) -- Home runs kept flying over the wall at Minute Maid Park, on line drives up toward the train tracks, on fly balls that just dropped over the fence.

Seven more were hit in Game 5, raising the total to a World Series record 22 -- with two possible more games to play. Twenty-five runs were scored in a game started by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Astros' Dallas Keuchel, Cy Young Award winners regarded as among baseball's best.

After a season when sluggers outpaced even their steroid-era predecessors for home runs, some are convinced that something is amiss with the baseballs.

"The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls," Justin Verlander said Sunday, two days before he takes the mound in Game 6 and tries to pitch the Astros to their first title. "They're a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don't think it's the case of one pitcher saying, `Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole, everybody is saying, `Whoa, something is a little off here.'"

A record eight home runs were hit in Game 2, including five in extra innings, and Game 5's seven long balls would have tied the old mark. The 13-12, 10-inning Astros' win Sunday night was the second-highest scoring game in Series history.

Keuchel was quoted as saying after Game 2: "Obviously, the balls are juiced."

Not so obvious to everyone, even amid the power surge.

"I haven't personally noticed anything. I haven't tried to think about it either," Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow said after giving up two homers in Game 5. "It's not something you want to put in your own head."

Same for Kershaw, even after giving up his record eighth homer of the postseason Sunday.

"I don't really pay attention to it," Kershaw said. "I just assume that both sides are dealing with it, so I'm not going to worry about it."

This year's long ball assault topped the 21 of the 2002 Series. Anaheim hit seven and Barry Bonds and his San Francisco Giants slugged 14 over seven games. That was the year before survey drug testing.

Speculation that something has changed includes a study claiming to have found differences in the size and seam height of balls since the 2015 All-Star break.

"I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent," said Rich Hill, who will start Game 6 for the Dodgers. "I think that just has to do with conditions -- if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs."

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.

"I'm absolutely confident that the balls that we're using are within our established specifications," he said Friday.

Verlander rejected that assertion.

"I know Mr. Manfred said the balls haven't changed, but I think there's enough information out there to say that's not true," he said.

Verlander also does not think it's an issue of how balls are rubbed up before games.

"I know baseball uses the same mud for every single ball for every single game that's played," he said. "I think there's a broader issue that we're all missing."

On the day he become commissioner in January 2015, Manfred said, "I'm cognizant in the drop in offense over the last five years, and it's become a topic of conversation in the game, and it's something that we're going to have to continue to monitor and study."

Offense started rebounding during the second half of the season, and a record 6,105 home runs were hit this year, 2.4 percent more than the previous mark of 5,963 set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.

"I think it's pretty clear," Verlander said. "I think our commissioner has said publicly that they wanted more offense in the game. I'm pretty sure I'm not fabricating a quote here when I say that. I think it was already All-Star break of `15, or right before, when he said that."

San Francisco's Johnny Cueto and Toronto's Marcus Stroman also think the balls have changed, with Stroman blaming slick balls for a rise in pitcher blisters -- an affliction which has struck Hill a few times in the past couple seasons, too.

Houston's Brent Strom and the Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt, the World Series pitching coaches, both were quoted by Sports Illustrated on Sunday as saying the slickness of the ball made throwing sliders difficult.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't see a ton difference, but I'm not going to get in a verbal war with coaches and players who think otherwise."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a similar view but acknowledged the power records got his attention.

"The pitchers talk about it feels different in their hand. The one component is the slickness and guys at different ballparks rub it up differently," he said. "Sort of feels the same to me. But it's hard to argue the numbers. You know there's more velocity. Guys are swinging harder. I know in Los Angeles the air was light. It was hot. The ball was flying, carrying more than typically. But I hesitate to try to give you any insight because I really don't know."

RELATED: Nats set to hire Dave Martinez as new manager