The Orioles finally did to the Texas Rangers what other teams have been doing to them so often over the past few weeks.
The offense erupted for six runs in the first inning and reached double digits by the fourth on the way to a 12-1 victory before an announced 18,119 and their biggest run total at Camden Yards since they scored 15 against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 17.
Chris Davis did most of the damage, with a fluke two-run home run in the first and a grand slam in the fourth to set a career high with six RBIs. The grand slam was the eighth of his career.
"It was one of those nights when we just kind of fed off of each other," Davis said. "We've been looking for that for a while. Obviously, you try to get out there and score as many runs as possible — as an offense that's your job every night — but it felt good to see one through nine hitting tonight."
It all accrued to the benefit of starting pitcher Dylan Bundy, who gave up a quick run in the first inning, then settled in to enjoy a rare night of lavish run support. He was coming off an 11-day hiatus intended to freshen him up for the stretch run and – like Chris Tillman the night before – seemed to benefit from the rest.
Bundy looked fatigued in his final two outings before the All-Star break, giving up 11 earned runs in just nine innings, but manager Buck Showalter was already planning the long midseason break before those two games.
He bounced back to give up just four hits over six innings in his 13th quality start of the season. Miguel Castro took over at that point and pitched two hitless innings. Zach Britton finished up in a nonsave situation.
It took Bundy a couple of innings to settle in. He had the bases loaded in the second before working out of a jam that might have changed the complexion of the game.
"The first three innings, I just felt off," he said. "I can't even explain what was off, but something was. That's how you get out of it is just going out there and staying in the game and trying to figure out things that work and make adjustments on that day."
Davis returned from the disabled list Friday and has been in the starting lineup in each of the past five games, but he had just one hit in his first 14 at-bats since losing more than a month of the season to an oblique strain.
"I think as a hitter, anytime you've been working hard for a feeling or just working with one thing in mind, you like to see the result," he said. "Obviously, that's not always the case, but I've taken a lot of swings the last couple of days just trying to get my timing back and was able to get some good results tonight."
The Orioles added a run in the sixth inning on an RBI infield single by Manny Machado and another in the eighth on Seth Smith's 11th home run of the year and second of the series.
Rangers center fielder Carlos Gomez thought he was going to come down with Davis' long fly ball in the first inning, but the ball bounced off his glove and over the center-field fence for a two-run homer. It wasn't exactly Jose Canseco head-butting the ball over the wall, but Orioles fans are not picky when it comes to lucky breaks these days. Trey Mancini also hit a two-run shot in the first to complete the six-run rally.
Bundy came back from the 11-day break and was greeted by Rangers leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo with a home run into the Orioles bullpen behind right-center field. It probably felt like one of those here-we-go-again moments, but Bundy dispatched the next three batters in order and the Orioles offense went medieval on Rangers starting pitcher Tyler Ross in the bottom of the inning.
Jones still leads
On the face of it, the decision to move Adam Jones to the leadoff spot Friday doesn't look so good. He has just three hits in 19 at-bats through the fifth game of the nonmathematical second half, but he has reached base seven times in 22 plate appearances, thanks to a walk, an error and the two times he was hit by pitches during the Chicago Cubs series.