Davis gears up for Derby
With one final power surge before the All-Star break, Chris Davis earned himself a place in baseball’s record book and generated momentum for the Home Run Derby.
Davis, who played for the Spokane Indians in 2006, hit his 37th home run to tie the A.L. mark prior to the break, and the Baltimore Orioles cruised past the Toronto Blue Jays 7-4 Sunday in Baltimore.
Davis doubled in two runs in the first inning and hit a two-run homer in the third to give him 93 RBIs, second-most in the majors behind Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera. He and Cabrera are the only players in major league history to have 30 homers and 90 RBIs before the All-Star game.
“Superhuman,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “He’s having some kind of year. I saw him a little bit when he was in Texas coming up. He could always hit home runs. He got his opportunity here to play every day and he’s taken advantage of it. It’s pretty impressive.”
By going deep in a fourth straight game, Davis equaled Reggie Jackson’s A.L. mark of 37 homers before the break, set in 1969. The major league record is 39, by Barry Bonds in 2001.
Davis has already reached career highs in home runs and RBIs with 66 games left in the regular season.
“I think it’s something definitely to be proud of,” Davis said. “It means I’ve been doing my job, but it also speaks volumes about the guys in front of me getting on base and really swinging the bats well.”
Davis has been facing a shift lately, but there’s no defending a ball that clears the wall.
“You can’t shift to the stands,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “They don’t allow you to put anybody out there. So hit it where the grass doesn’t grow.”
Davis will next put his sweet swing on display at the Home Run Derby tonight in New York.
“I expect it to be a lot of fun,” he said. “I think it’s going to be definitely high energy, and I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Pittsburgh pitcher Mark Melancon was picked as a replacement for the N.L. All-Star team Sunday, giving the Pirates five players in the game for the first time since 1972.
N.L. manager Bruce Bochy also selected Sergio Romo, his San Francisco Giants closer, as a replacement pick Sunday along with Atlanta catcher Brian McCann. Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke, Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, all on the original N.L. All-Star roster, are hurt and will miss Tuesday night’s game at Citi Field.
Baltimore pitcher Chris Tillman, Kansas City closer Greg Holland and Oakland closer Grant Balfour were chosen by A.L. manager Jim Leyland of Detroit to replace Tigers ace Justin Verlander, Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma and Oakland’s Bartolo Colon, who all started Sunday. Under baseball’s labor contract, pitchers who start on the Sunday before the All-Star game may opt not to participate. Verlander was the A.L. starter and loser of last year’s All-Star game at Kansas City.
The other Pirates on the N.L. roster are third baseman Pedro Alvarez, center fielder Andrew McCutchen and closer Jason Grilli. In 1972, the defending World Series champions had Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Steve Blass, Al Oliver and Manny Sanguillen at the All-Star game in Atlanta.
Kansas City has three All-Stars for the first time since George Brett, Mark Gubicza and Kurt Stillwell in 1988.
U.S. tops World Team
Matt Davidson of the Arizona Diamondbacks hit a two-run homer and the United States beat the World Team 4-2 on Sunday in the All-Star Futures Game, baseball’s annual showcase for top minor league prospects.
Miami’s Christian Yelich and Boston’s Garin Cecchini each had an RBI double. Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Jesse Biddle earned the win and Washington right-hander A.J. Cole got a save.
Davidson was named the game’s MVP.
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