ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It only seemed as though Chris Davis was a one-man wrecking crew in helping the Baltimore Orioles get off to another promising start.
The hottest hitter in baseball homered for the third straight day and drove in four runs Thursday in a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Davis went 7 of 11 with three homers, three doubles, and a major league-leading 11 RBIs in helping the Orioles win two of three games in the season-opening series. He drove in four for the second day in a row, hitting a two-run homer in the second and a two-run double that broke a 2-2 tie against Roberto Hernandez (0-1) in the sixth.
‘‘It’s awesome, but it’s about winning baseball games,’’ Davis said. ‘‘I've basically just been trying to keep it simple. Do my job. We've got a lot of guys in this lineup that can do a lot of things with the bat, and we've proven that over the last three days.’’
Davis joined Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (1966) as the only Orioles player to homer in three consecutive games to begin the season. Only three players in major league history — Willie Mays, Mark McGwire, and Nelson Cruz — have homered in four straight to start a season.
‘‘I feel comfortable in the box. Obviously, we've had quite a few runners on when I'm up at the plate, which is always fun. You get a hit, those guys are going to score,’’ said Davis, who has homered in nine of his last 10 regular-season games. ‘‘We played really well with the exception of the game in the middle, we just kind of let that get away from us, but I think it’s definitely a series to be happy with it.’’
Miguel Gonzalez allowed two runs and four hits over 6⅓ innings. The Orioles’ bullpen protected the lead, with Jim Johnson entering in the ninth to earn his second save after Brian Matusz allowed two runners to reach base.
Evan Longoria trimmed Tampa Bay’s deficit to 6-3 with a long fly that went off the wall in left-centerfield for what turned out to be a single.
A potential big inning for the Rays fizzled when Longoria was called out for passing Ben Zobrist on the bases as he headed into second for what should have been a double.
‘‘I was going back to the bag to tag if they caught the ball. It was a mistake really, a base-running mistake,’’ Zobrist said.
‘‘It’s one of those things you’re taught to always keep your head up,’’ Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ‘‘It’s just like whenever you hit a car from behind. Whose fault is it? It’s unfortunate . . . Longo feels terrible about it, I'm sure.’’