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BAL@CWS: Davis doubles in two to break the deadlock

CHICAGO -- Scott Feldman played with Chris Davis for parts of several seasons in Texas, but suffice it to say the right-hander had never played with this version of Davis before.

The Orioles first baseman continued his incredible breakout season on Wednesday night, extending his Major League lead to an eye-popping 32 homers and driving in three more runs to raise his RBI total to 83 through the club's first 85 games.

Davis' efforts, which included a tie-breaking, two-run double in the eighth, led to a 4-2 victory over the White Sox in Feldman's debut with the Orioles.

"He's doing something special right now," Feldman said of Davis, who has four homers in his last four games and leads the Majors with 223 total bases. "I've always been cheering for him ever since he got traded [to Baltimore]. It's nice to see him succeeding like this. It's awesome."

Davis' continued dominance highlighted the win in front of 26,001 at U.S. Cellular Field, and keeps the second-place Orioles (48-37) within 3 1/2 games of the Red Sox in the American League East. But the 27-year-old was hardly the only familiar face in Feldman's debut, which featured a slew of old Rangers comrades who are now his new teammates.

"Probably myself and Scott, and myself and Tommy [Hunter] have pitched in a lot of box scores together," said reliever Darren O'Day, who followed up close friend Feldman's outing with a scoreless seventh. "We won a lot of games over there. Hopefully that [win tonight] will be the first of many wins here with Scott joining us."

Acquired in a trade from the Cubs on Tuesday, the 30-year-old Feldman -- making his first start in exactly a week -- held the White Sox to two runs over six innings in a solid first performance. The 13th different pitcher to start a game for the Orioles this season, Feldman allowed six hits and struck out six, not issuing a walk in the 98-pitch debut, before handing the ball off O'Day.

"That's Scott," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who had Feldman in Texas. "You saw a guy with six days' rest, whose command was off a little early, but you could see in his eyes that he got a little confident as the game went on. He's got a lot of things -- catcher catching a guy for the first time, he's got a pair of pants he's never had on. It didn't look like they fit too well. Had a brand new pair of shoes that probably hurt his feet a little bit. I thought he handled all the adjustments in his life well, but Scotty's been down this road before."

Feldman, who admitted he was so excited he fell asleep around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, was helped by some solid defense and exited the game in a 2-2 tie before Davis struck again.

After Nick Markakis led off the eighth wit a single off former Orioles reliever Matt Lindstrom, Adam Jones singled one out later to bring on lefty Matt Thornton to face Davis. Davis wasted no time, sending the first pitch he saw into the right-field corner for a double to score the pair and give the Orioles a 4-2 lead.

"Credit [the Orioles]," said White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, who hit a solo homer off Feldman in the fifth. "They've got a guy that's hitting .330 and driving in a million runs and hitting a million home runs. He's really good. It's tough to say anything about our side when he's doing what he's doing."

Coupled with his fourth-inning blast, the O's slugger -- who is one shy of tying his career-high for homers in a full season -- is within one double of tying Frank Thomas (1994) for the most homers and doubles before the All-Star break.

Davis took the same approach off White Sox starter Hector Santiago as he did Thornton, ambushing a first-pitch fastball to send it just over the left-field fence. The last American League player with as many first-half homers as Davis was Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998.

"You watch his first at-bat, [Santiago] threw a couple fastballs by him. The second one, he didn't. Davis was ready for it," O'Day said. "He's always had the physical gifts and now he's mentally locked in. Nothing he can't do right now."

"He knows the short distance between success and failure," Showalter added. "He does dwell on it for a night and then gets back in his routine and gets ready to contribute to his team again.

"He knows they're going to pitch him tough and he's got such good range with the bat. If you go back through his home runs and doubles, a lot of them are balls, so it's a fine line between being aggressive and being selective."

Davis' eighth-inning RBIs held up as the decisive score, with Hunter following O'Day with a 1-2-3 eighth and closer Jim Johnson, fresh off his 100th career save Sunday night, picking up his 29th save this season with a scoreless ninth .

"It was funny, it went from me to O'Day to Tommy. And then Chris had, how many RBIs, three?," Feldman said. "It's kind of what these guys have been doing all year. Getting good pitching out of everybody and Chris has obviously been doing his thing all year long, too."

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