SAN DIEGO—In his first three at-bats against the San Diego Padres Tuesday, Chris Davis struck out. That ran his hitless streak to 18. On the nine-game road trip, Davis was 0-for-16 with 14 strikeouts.
The fourth at-bat was different. Davis homered against left-handed Matt Strahm to center in the eighth, breaking a 5-5 tie and leading the Orioles to a 8-5 win over the San Diego Padres. It also gave them a winning road trip.
The Orioles won one of three in Arizona, three of four in Los Angeles and split the two games at Petco Park. It was their first winning road trip since the four wins in New York and Toronto to open the season.
The Orioles also completed their first non-losing month since August 2017, going 12-12 in July.
“It means there have been some bad months,” manager Brandon Hyde said, jokingly.
Davis’ home run was just his eighth of the season, his first since July 5 and his third since May 12. He hadn’t hit a home run against a left-hander since last August 24, when he slammed one against Zack Britton.
“Felt great,” Davis said “I think any time you’re scuffling or going through a rough spot, you want the opportunity to come through in a big situation. I felt like I had a couple opportunities to cash in with a runners on base in big spots.
“Obviously, the home run came at a pretty crucial time. It felt good. I was just battling all day, really the last few days, trying to get back in that groove, and it felt good to put a good swing on a ball and see it up.”
Trey Mancini, who had snapped at home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez after a called third strike an inning earlier, hit a two-run single in the inning to put the Orioles ahead 8-5.
Miguel Castro, who worked a scoreless eighth, got the win. Shawn Armstrong pitched the final two innings for his third save.
The Orioles are 36-70. Last season, their 36th win didn’t come until their 120th game, putting them 13 games ahead of 2018.
Eshelman’s day: For the second game in a row, an Orioles starter had a rough beginning. David Hess allowed home runs on his first two pitches on Monday night.
Tom Eshelman gave up a leadoff home run to Fernando Tatis Jr., who led off Monday’s game with a homer. Two batters later, Manny Machado hit his 26th.
Wil Myers’ RBI double put San Diego ahead 3-0 in the first.
Trailing 4-0 in the fourth, the Orioles rallied for three runs against Dinelson Lamet.
Jace Peterson had an RBI single, and Richie Martin drove in two with a two-out base hit to cut the lead to 4-3. With only three position players on the bench, manager Brandon Hyde elected to have Eshelman hit for himself, and he popped to third to end the inning.
Renato Nunez’s two-run single in the seventh tied the score at 5.
Eshelman allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings, walking one and striking out five. He has a 6.35 ERA in five games.
“The game’s different up here, for sure,” Eshelman said. “You’ve got some guys who understand what they’re doing, hitting-wise. For me as a pitcher, I need to grow a little bit more and have more of an understanding, an idea of what I want to do with each pitch.”
Eshelman is from the San Diego area and had lots of family and friends attended the game.
“I haven’t pitched a lot on the West Coast in my professional career,” Eshelman said. “To be able to come out here and pitch in my hometown is pretty special for me.”
Padres set home run record: In a season of an inflated home run statistics, San Diego set a record with 16 home runs against the Orioles in the four games the teams played. It was a record for a series of four games or less.
Shepherd an unlikely Oriole: Chandler Shepherd was on the Orioles’ taxi squad Monday, and instead of the team optioning a pitcher to Norfolk, he took the roster space of outfielder Dwight Smith Jr., who strained a left calf muscle in Monday night’s game.
Shepherd was acquired on waivers from the Chicago Cubs on May 22, and was 0-4 with a 7.15 ERA in nine games for Norfolk. In 17 games with the Tides and Pawtucket, with whom he started the season, Shepherd was 0-9 with an 8.39 ERA in 17 games.
“It was definitely a call that I’d be waiting on for a while,” Shepherd said. “And I’m beyond excited to be here.”
The Orioles couldn’t get a position player from the East Coast in time for the afternoon game.
New Orioles infielder: Jose Rondon, the infielder the Orioles acquired from the Chicago White Sox on waivers, will meet the team in Baltimore on Thursday, a day after the trade deadline.
Rondon hit .197 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 55 games for the Chicago White Sox.
He’s played all four infield positions and left field with the White Sox.
Rondon, 25, began his major league career with San Diego in 2016. He has a lifetime average of .202 in 105 games.
Ruiz transferred to Bowie: Third baseman Rio Ruiz, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on July 24, was transferred to Double-A Bowie. Ruiz’s stay with the Baysox is not likely to be long. He’s eligible to be brought back to the Orioles on Sunday.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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