Gonzalez great, Davis grand for O's vs. Twins

Righty allows one run in seven innings; slumping slugger delivers blast

Gonzalez great, Davis grand for O's vs. Twins

BALTIMORE -- When the Rays intentionally walked Chris Davis on Thursday night, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he understood the move and that -- despite Davis' sub-.200 batting average -- he was always a threat to go deep.

Davis didn't take long to issue a reminder. The slugger hit his second grand slam and 24th homer of the year on Friday night, highlighting an offensive onslaught -- including a two-run homer from Delmon Young -- that kept the first-place Orioles rolling with a 9-1 win over the Twins.

"Chris has stayed selective," Showalter said after Davis' blast saw his team maintain a seven-game lead in the American League East. "You can see the walk total, you see the defense and the effort he's playing with. Obviously, that was the big blow of the night … But Chris has kept working through thick and thin.

"He's got a chance to end up with 25-30 home runs and 80 RBIs. Who knows? We know what he can do in bunches. I'm real proud of the way he's continued to fight through it. A lot of people could have or would have given in, but he hasn't."

Baltimore, which tied a season-high in going 21 games over .500, got a stellar seven innings from Miguel Gonzalez and saw its impressive bullpen run its scoreless streak to 16 1/3 innings in the win.

"It's definitely better to pitch with that type of lead," said Gonzalez, who allowed only Trevor Plouffe's solo homer in the seventh. "I thought our offense did a good job later in the game. Early in the game, May was doing really good, changing speeds. I thought, in general, we did good. Our offense and defense was great, and that's what [we need]."

The O's -- who have scored four or more runs in four of their last five games -- scored eight of their runs off Twins prospect Trevor May, exploding for a five-run fourth inning highlighted by Davis' blast, which sailed into the right-center-field seats. The O's loaded the bases after Jimmy Paredes -- an in-game replacement due to Steve Pearce's abdominal strain -- collected his first Orioles hit, and May hit both Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz.

Following J.J. Hardy's bases-loaded walk, Davis drilled the 24-year-old's 3-1 fastball over the wall.

"I've felt pretty good the last two or three weeks," Davis said. "Made a few adjustments the last few days and it's translated into the game. It's something I've got to continue to grind out."

The Orioles added a trio of runs to extend to an eight-run lead in the following frame, including Young's two-run homer, which stood after replay review and chased May from the game.

After Jones singled in a run, Young drove a pitch off May that had just enough carry to sail into the left-field stands. Twins outfielder Jordan Schafer, who made a fantastic effort in crashing into the wall in hopes of corralling it, watched a fan reach over and grab the ball before it had a chance to clear the park. While the fan didn't interfere with Schafer, it was enough to draw a crew chief review.

"The question, if they had ruled fan interference, they could have given Jonesy home plate," Showalter said of the play. "I'm not quite sure how they saw it, but I liked the end-game on that."

Gonzalez, who needed just 72 pitches to get through five innings, cruised for most of the evening. The right-hander allowed four runs and one walk, striking out six in the 103-pitch outing.

"He pounded the strike zone," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Gonzalez, who was followed by lefty Brian Matusz's two scoreless innings. "He had a good fastball and a great breaking ball it seemed he could throw at any time. He has great stuff. He was up in the zone and our young hitters sometimes chase out of the zone, and he took advantage of that."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.