BALTIMORE (AP) — Chris Davis is having such a phenomenal season, he can afford to joke about a slump he’s been stuck in for more than a week.
He’s not getting any sympathy from his teammates, either.
Davis snapped an 0-for-17 skid with his major league-leading 34th homer, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 Thursday night to earn a split of the four-game series.
Davis reached career highs in homers and RBIs (86) with a second-inning solo shot off Ross Wolf (1-2). His 34 home runs are the most in the majors before the All-Star break since 2001, when Barry Bonds had 39 and Luis Gonzalez hit 35.
“I was just glad to get a hit,” Davis said. “Got tired of striking out and grounding out and breaking bats. Kind of went on long enough.”
After the home run, he struck out twice and is now in a 2-for-27 funk. But does it really matter?
“I talked about trying to be a little more patient, little bit more selective,” he said. “And of course after I hit the home run I go back to swinging at everything. Some lessons are harder to learn than others.”
In spite of his recent dry spell, Davis is still batting .310 and ranks second behind Miguel Cabrera for the major league lead in RBIs.
“Yeah, we all feel terrible for him. He’s got 34 and 86. It’s been a rough go for him,” joked teammate Brian Roberts, who also homered. “Nobody would have ever predicted that. We know he’s talented, but to have 34 and 86 before the break is just crazy. And it’s been fun to watch.”
Miguel Gonzalez (7-3) allowed one run, four hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings to improve to 5-0 at home this year. Baltimore has won each of the last 12 games he’s started at Camden Yards.
After Nate McLouth singled in a run for Baltimore in the eighth, Jim Johnson got three outs for his 31st save in 37 opportunities.
Ian Kinsler homered and Mitch Moreland had three hits for the Rangers, who scored only one run in each of the final two games of the series. Adrian Beltre went 1 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
Texas couldn’t have asked for much more from Wolf, who got the start after Yu Darvish was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an upper back strain. Wolf gave up two runs and three hits in six innings.
“I’m very happy with him. He did what his job was today — he kept us in the ballgame,” manager Ron Washington said. “That’s all you can ask from a guy that’s sitting down there and gets a chance to pitch when you need him. We needed him today and he gave us what we needed out of him. We just didn’t put enough runs on the board.”
Wolf hadn’t allowed a homer all season until Davis and Roberts both went deep in a span four batters. Davis put the Orioles up 1-0 by driving a 2-1 pitch into the center-field bleachers, and Roberts led off the third with his second homer of the year.
“Davis, threw him a changeup. It was right down the middle,” Wolf said. “Roberts was a little better pitch. It was fastball down and in, it was supposed to be away. I just missed the spot and it’s (in) his happy zone. Made a mistake and paid for it.”
Baltimore’s only other hit through the first five innings was a leadoff single by Matt Wieters in the fifth. He was promptly wiped out by a 6-4-3 double play in which shortstop Elvis Andrus went deep in the hole before flipping the ball to second from his glove.
The Rangers had just one runner through the first four innings and managed only two hits through the fifth — both of them singles by Moreland.
Kinsler homered to lead off the sixth and Nelson Cruz singled with one out before Beltre hit into a double play.
Texas got a runner on second with no outs in the eighth before Darren O’Day quelled the threat.
NOTES: Texas assistant general manager Thad Levine said Thursday that Darvish’s injury isn’t serious, and the right-hander should be ready to return soon after the All-Star break. … Baltimore begins a three-game series with Toronto on Friday night, and Texas concludes the first half with three games in Detroit. After the All-Star break, the Orioles and Rangers conclude their season series with three games in Texas from July 19-21. … Texas optioned RHP Josh Lindblom to Triple-A Round Rock and recalled pitchers Joseph Ortiz and Wilmer Font from the same minor league club. … Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando, who’s been on the DL since June 9 with right shoulder inflammation, was scheduled to throw around 60 pitches in his second rehab start Thursday night for Round Rock. … After the game, the Orioles optioned RHP Josh Stinson to Triple-A Norfolk.