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 hit his 37th home run to tie the AL mark prior to the break, and the Baltimore Orioles cruised past the Toronto Blue Jays 7-4 Sunday.
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 AL 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 on Monday night 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."
Adam Jones homered and scored three runs for the Orioles. The home run was his 19th of the season and third in three games.
Scott Feldman (1-1) allowed three runs and five hits over 7 1-3 innings to earn his first win with the Orioles in three starts since being traded from the Chicago Cubs on July 2. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one.
"I think command-wise I was a little better today," he said. "I was able to throw in that first strike when I need to, which was helpful."
After Maicer Izturis singled in a run in the ninth off Tommy Hunter, Jim Johnson got three outs for his 33rd save.
Izturis had three RBIs for the last-place Blue Jays, who staggered into the break with 13 losses in 20 games. Toronto dropped two of the three to the Orioles and fell to 4-11 in its last 15 games at Camden Yards.
"Definitely frustrating," Gibbons said. "These four days will be good for us. A little breather (to) regroup. We will find out what we’re made of and how good we are in the second half."
Josh Johnson (1-5) yielded a career high-tying seven earned runs and seven hits in six innings. Johnson’s only win in 12 starts this season came against Baltimore on June 23.
"They hit him pretty well," Gibbons said. "First inning they dropped four on us. It’s tough to come back from that."
Baltimore bolted to a 4-0 lead in the first, getting hits from four of its All-Star selections: Manny Machado, Jones, Davis and J.J. Hardy.
After Nate McLouth opened with a single, Machado singled and Jones hit an RBI single. Davis followed with a double into the right-field corner and Hardy capped the uprising with a run-scoring single, his 200th RBI with the Orioles.
Davis made it 6-0 with an opposite-field drive to left after Jones drew a walk.
"When you got guys hitting opposite field that are decent pitches," Johnson said, "it’s tough."
Izturis singled in two runs with two outs in the fourth, and Jones hit a solo shot in the fifth for a 7-2 lead.
After Feldman gave up a single to Jose Reyes in the eighth, Hunter allowed a two-out RBI single to Juan Encarnacion.
NOTES: The Orioles announced before the game that RHP Chris Tillman (11-3) was added to the AL All-Star squad. … Baltimore has homered in 17 straight games against AL East foes, a franchise record. … Actor Kevin Spacey threw out the ceremonial first pitch, floating a soft strike to pitcher Jim Johnson. … Chris Dickerson, who came in 6 for 10 lifetime against Josh Johnson, went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts against the right-hander. … Feldman improved to 1-4 in his career against Toronto. … The Blue Jays lead the season series 7-6. The teams don’t play again until Sept. 13.