After playing extra baseball on Friday, the Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants get right back to work Saturday afternoon as they play the second of a three-game set at AT&T Park.
Major League Baseball's home run leader, Chris Davis (41), played the hero last night as he delivered a two-run double in the top of the 10th inning to help push the visiting Orioles to a 5-2 victory in the series opener. Davis finished with just that one hit, but also walked twice to offset a pair of strikeouts.
"These kind of games, this is what the playoffs are going to be like," said Davis. "One-run games, close games, all the way to the end. The fact that we were able to battle back and get the win in the end was huge."
Manny Machado posted a pair of doubles for Baltimore, scoring twice, as the team's win streak reached three in a row and they moved to within 4 1/2 games of first place in the American League East, trailing only division-leading Boston and Tampa Bay. J.J. Hardy contributed with his 20th home run of the year.
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman made it through eight innings, allowing just a single run on four hits, striking out nine, but he failed to factor into the decision. Instead, it was Jim Johnson who registered his third win in 10 decisions on the campaign, with Tommy Hunter posting his third save.
Coming out on the losing end was Javier Lopez, the fourth reliever of the night for the Giants who was charged with three runs on three hits in only two-thirds of an inning.
"You never want to put more guys on base, but my job is to get those lefties out and I've been pretty good at it for the last few years," said Lopez. "I had full confidence that I'm able to do that and (Manager Bruce) Bochy thought the same way. Ultimately, it came down to one pitch, not finishing it, and Chris Davis did what he's been doing all year, put a good swing on it."
Ryan Vogelsong, just activated from the 60-day DL after suffering a broken hand, lasted six full innings for the hosts, permitting two runs on six hits, walking three and striking out four before giving way to Jose Mijares in the seventh.
Brandon Belt had two of the six hits for the Giants in the meeting, one of those being a solo home run, his 13th of the campaign. Hunter Pence accounted for two hits as well as San Francisco lost for the third time in the last four outings and is now all alone at the bottom of the NL West standings, 14 games out of contention.
Taking the mound for the Giants today will be Chad Gaudin as he shoots for his second straight win and the sixth in his last seven decisions overall. The right-hander, who came out of the bullpen for the first two months of the season, has been a pleasant surprise for San Francisco thus far with a record of 5-2 and a 2.56 ERA.
Since picking up a victory against Philadelphia on the road back on July 31, the Louisiana native has made one more appearance, but his outing versus Milwaukee did not involve a decision, even though the Giants captured a 4-2 win in the meeting earlier this week.
In that contest Gaudin allowed only one run on four hits, but he also walked four batters while striking out eight over 6 1/3 innings of work.
Over the course of 28 appearances in 2013, Gaudin has had some control problems, issuing 33 bases-on-ball in 88 innings of action.
Sporting a career record of 45-44, Gaudin has faced off against Baltimore a total of 11 times, but has only one start and a 0-1 mark with a 5.48 ERA.
While Gaudin has been in the majors since 2003, playing with a total of nine different teams during that span, his adversary this afternoon, Wei-Yin Chen, is only his second year, both with the O's. The left-hander is coming off his first loss since the start of May, bowing to Seattle at home last weekend.
Against the Mariners, Chen allowed three runs on five hits and three walks, fanning five over seven innings of action.
An even 3-3 on the road this season, Chen is going up against the Giants for the first time in his brief career.
Tied for the major league lead in RBI with 108, Davis is now batting a robust .477 (21-for-44) in interleague play this year with eight games remaining. He has a chance to become the second player ever to hit .500 or better in interleague play in a single season after Kansas City's Joe Randa batted .508 in 1999.
Prior to last night, the most recent meetings between these two teams took place in 2010, with the Giants taking two of three at home. Despite being far from home, the Orioles are an impressive 9-2 in the Golden State this season.