BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles have come to expect home runs from Chris Davis, who delivered a much-needed clout in the seventh inning of a tight game against the Indians.
What happened next came as a complete surprise.
Light-hitting Alexi Casilla capped a five-run seventh with a three-run homer, and the Orioles broke a four-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory Tuesday night.
Davis tied the game at 3 with his major league-leading 28th home run, a two-run shot. Casilla hadn’t homered all season before crushing a pitch from Justin Masterson (9-6).
On a team that leads the majors in home runs, contact can come from anyone — even the No. 9 batter in the order.
“That takes pressure off the big guys, to know that we’ve got other guys who can contribute, and do contribute,” leadoff hitter Nate McLouth said. “Alexi came up huge tonight.”
Much to the delight of his teammates, who have come to appreciate the hard-working backup second baseman.
“It was awesome,” Davis said. “I think everybody’s pulling for him right there, obviously trying, hoping that he’ll just get a base hit. Then he does that, provided a little bit of a jolt of adrenaline for everybody.”
It was Casilla’s first home run since August 8, 2012 — also off Masterson. That was enough to end a four-game skid in which Baltimore lost three games to Toronto and another to Cleveland by a combined 29-15 score.
“I feel great to hit that home run after we lost four games,” Casilla said through interpreter Einar Diaz, a former Indians catcher. “I felt like I had to come and do something for the team and I did it that time.”
Chris Tillman (9-2) gave up three runs, four hits and four walks in seven innings to win his fifth straight start. The right-hander is 6-0 in seven starts since May 19.
He was in position to lose until Davis and Casilla went deep.
“Awesome, awesome,” Tillman said. “Last year, I think it’s every night, it’s somebody new, somebody else. It’s good to see. This is a pretty tight-knit team and we enjoy seeing that. It’s fun for all of us.”
Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his 27th save.