SEATTLE — After leading the majors with 53 homers and 138 RBIs last year, Chris Davis has struggled to follow up his huge season at the plate.
He picked a good time for a flashback Friday night.
Davis hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning, Nelson Cruz also went deep and the Baltimore Orioles overcame a record-tying start by Felix Hernandez in a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
“For me, this year it’s been a lot harder than I’d like it to have been,” said Davis, batting .203 with 51 RBIs. “So any time I have the opportunity to pick these guys up, I try to do it.”
Hernandez struck out 10 in seven innings and left with the score tied 1-all. It was his 13th consecutive start with at least seven innings and no more than two runs allowed, matching Tom Seaver’s major league mark set for the New York Mets in 1971.
Chief Bender held the previous AL record of 12 in a row established in 1907.
King Felix gave up five hits and walked none. He is 7-1 with a 1.36 ERA, 113 strikeouts and 17 walks during his last 13 starts.
“He’s special. Everyone in Seattle knows that,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Very few pitchers have that good of a hand who can manipulate the ball and do so many things with it. He almost invents pitches out there.”
Kendrys Morales had a sacrifice fly in his first game back with the Mariners, who have lost four straight and are 2-6 since the All-Star break.
Left fielder Steve Pearce threw out a runner at the plate for Baltimore, which remained three games in front of the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
Davis struck out twice and grounded out against Hernandez. But the slugger faced Charlie Furbush (1-5) in the 10th and hit a 1-2 slider deep into the right-field seats for his 17th home run.
“It was a pitch I wanted to throw,” Furbush said. “I just left it up.”
Cruz connected off Hernandez in the second for his 29th of the season, keeping him one behind Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu for the big league lead.
Abreu hit No. 30 on Friday night in a victory over Minnesota.
Darren O’Day (3-1) worked the ninth and Zach Britton earned his 19th save in 22 opportunities. Baltimore won an instant replay review for the final out.
The Mariners had a series of chances, but Orioles starter Kevin Gausman consistently threw the right pitch to work out of most trouble in a tight duel with Hernandez.
“Anytime you face a guy like that, who just won 13 straight or something pretty ridiculous, I definitely knew I had to have my A game,” Gausman said. “As the game went on I tried to stay locked in.”
Seattle advanced a runner to third with two outs in the first, third and fourth. Endy Chavez was pinned there in the first inning when Kyle Seager struck out. Brad Miller reached third in the third, but Robinson Cano bounced out to first. Seager was stranded in the fourth when Logan Morrison struck out.
“I tell our guys all the time: ‘Every pitch is the right pitch if you put it in the right place, you believe in it and have conviction,'” Showalter said.
In the fifth, it appeared the Mariners had something going after Miller’s one-out walk. Chavez grounded a ball through the right side, with Miller racing to third. However, the umpires ruled immediately that the ball ticked off Miller’s shoe. He was ruled out and Chavez was credited with a single.
Chavez stole second and James Jones lined a single to left. Chavez tried to score, but was thrown out easily by Pearce.
“That was a great break — and Pearce throwing that guy out at home, that was huge,” Gausman said. “My defense has been awesome for me all year.”
Seattle finally broke through in the sixth. Cano opened with a triple into the right-field corner. Morales, in his first game since Thursday’s trade with Minnesota, lifted a sacrifice fly to right. Cano made a nifty, left-handed sweep of the plate to avoid the tag.
Cruz’s first-pitch solo shot in the second curled into the left-field corner, clearing the wall by not much more than a yard as Hernandez flashed an incredulous look.
Hernandez had been among the toughest pitchers to take deep. He had allowed five home runs this season, just two in his previous 16 starts.
The Orioles have 125 home runs, matching Toronto for most in the majors.
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