Chris Davis saved the baseball. After a first-inning single Saturday, his first hit in 54 at-bats, the Baltimore Orioles infielder asked to keep the ball.
The two-run single off Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello snapped the longest hitless streak by a non-pitcher in major league history. The streak, which began last season on Sept. 15, 2018, totaled 210 days.
After the game, a 9-5 defeat for Boston, Porcello recognized the slump’s conclusion.
“I definitely don’t want to give up a hit to him but I respect how he’s going about his business,” Porcello said, per MassLive. “It’s never easy. Baseball’s a tough game when you’re struggling and he’s still showing up and playing hard every day.”
The righthander has had a slow start to the season himself. Over 11 1/3 innings, he has walked 12 batters en route to an 11.12 earned run average.
“I tip my hat to him for battling through what he’s battling through,” Porcello said.
— Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) April 13, 2019
Davis, who’s in year four of a seven-year, $161 million deal with the Orioles, told reporters that he consulted with a coach before the game to ensure calling for the ball would not be considered “bush.” The coach confirmed that it would not.
“That’s a long time without getting a hit,” Davis said, per ESPN. “And yeah, I don’t know what I’m gonna do with [the ball], but I’m gonna do something special.”
Davis added two doubles Saturday to finish the game 3 for 5 with four RBIs. The Red Sox and Orioles meet again Sunday at 1:05 p.m. at Fenway Park.