While the follow-up to his breakout season has largely been disappointing, Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis gave O's fans plenty to cheer for Monday night, hitting the franchise's first walk-off, pinch-hit home run since 1988, per the team's official Twitter account.
Mired in an extended slump, Davis was held out of Monday's lineup against the Chicago White Sox while Steve Pearce got the start at first base. It marked the second time in eight games that Davis was held out of the lineup following a streak of 18 consecutive starts since he returned from the paternity list May 27.
Unfortunately for O's fans, the birth of the slugger's first child hasn't sparked Davis to greatness, as he has just 16 hits in 96 at-bats (.167 batting average) since rejoining the team. He does have a respectable six home runs and 15 RBI during the stretch but with 39 strikeouts compared to just 10 walks.
Despite the recent struggles, Davis put together an excellent at-bat against White Sox closer Ronald Belisario in the ninth inning of Monday's game. With the O's down 4-3 and runners on first and second, Davis worked his way back from a ball and two strikes to push the count full.
The slugging first baseman then took his typical mighty hack at a Belisario slider but appeared to get a bit under the ball. Nonetheless, he got enough of it, sending the pitch about five rows deep past the short right-center porch at Camden Yards for a 6-4 Orioles win.
The last Oriole to hit a walk-off, pinch-hit homer was Larry Sheets, who did it in an Aug. 24, 1988 game against the Seattle Mariners during the worst season in Baltimore franchise history. The O's lost an astounding 107 games that year, marking the only 100-loss season since the club moved from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954.
Davis' struggles and all, the O's have fared much better in 2014, as they sit at 40-35 heading into Thursday's action, just 1.5 games back of the first-place Toronto Blue Jays.