After dominating baseball's opening week with his offense, Chris Davis made a costly mistake on defense in the Baltimore Orioles' loss to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
Davis and Baltimore will try to bounce back to take Sunday's finale from the Twins, who must rely on spot starter Pedro Hernandez because of an injury.
Davis had spent his first four games lighting up opposing pitching, going 9 for 15 with 16 RBIs while becoming the fourth player in history to homer in his first four contests. Davis singled in a run Saturday, but failed to handle a groundball in the bottom of the ninth, an error that led to Justin Morneau's go-ahead single with two outs in Minnesota's 6-5 win.
"My glove was down, my head was down, the ball just went right through my legs," Davis said. "Just one of those things. I'll wear it on that one."
Though he didn't send a ball over the fence, the left-handed slugger can still tie a club record Sunday by driving in a run for the sixth consecutive game.
"I wasn't actually thinking I need to hit a homer," said Davis, who has gone deep in two of his last three games against Minnesota (3-2). "My mindset was more, 'drive in runs.' Homers come and go, they come in bunches."
Hernandez gets the task of trying to cool Davis in his Twins debut, two days after the team scratched Cole De Vries due to a right forearm strain. The left-hander, acquired in last year's trade that sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox, didn't allow a run on 10 hits over 11 innings out of the bullpen in spring training.
But he was also shelled for eight runs on 12 hits - three homers - in just four innings in his only career big league appearance last season for Chicago at Boston.
"He had a good spring," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told the team's official website. "He has a good changeup and has a good fastball he can cut and a nice looping curveball."
Opposite Hernandez will be right-hander Jason Hammel in his second start for the Orioles (3-2). Hammel yielded three runs on three hits while going six innings in Baltimore's 7-4 win at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
"Ham went out there and battled for us," catcher Matt Wieters said. "He was able to get us through six innings and turn it over to the bullpen, which is the recipe we want to use."
Hammel has had success in three career starts against the Twins, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings. Jamey Carroll has six hits in 15 at_bats against him, while Josh Willingham is 5 for 12.
Morneau is 7 for 18 with four walks after his three-hit game Saturday. The Twins would like to get rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks going, though, as he's just 1 for 22 with 10 strikeouts.
Baltimore has won 10 of the teams' last 13 meetings.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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