The White Sox are getting their first look at Baltimore's Chris Davis this week, and they already know why he is a legitimate American League MVP candidate.
Davis came into the three-game series as the first player in major-league history to have 30 home runs and 25 doubles at the end of June.
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In the Orioles' 4-2 win over the Sox on Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, Davis continued to do damage.
The first baseman gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead with a solo homer (No. 32) off White Sox starter Hector Santiago in the fourth inning, and Davis snapped a 2-2 tie in the eighth with a 2-run double off reliever Matt Thornton, running his season RBI total to 83.
"You can look at the numbers, and he's driving in runs, too, big runs for them," Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You don't want him up in those situations. You (try to) do anything you can to keep guys off the bases.
"When a guy's hot like that, I don't know if that pitch Matty threw was all that bad. It wasn't like one of those that was just hanging there. He got the barrel on it and kept it fair."
Santiago allowed 1 run on 2 hits in the first inning, prompting Ventura to get Ramon Troncoso up in the bullpen. The White Sox' left-hander settled down and wound up pitching 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out nine.
"It kind of gets you motivated when you hear that," Santiago said of being aware Troncoso was getting loose. "You don't want to come out of the game."
Davis' home run off Santiago was an opposite-field drive to left.
"He's really strong," Santiago said. "It was a flyball off the bat and it kept going. I watched video; it seemed like he was in front of it. He's really strong. He just put the barrel on it and it went out."
First for Beckham:
Gordon Beckham has been swinging the bat very well since spring training, and not even missing nearly two months with a fractured left hamate bone has slowed the Sox' second baseman.
Beckham was 2-for-4 Wednesday night, upping his average to .331. He also hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot off former Cubs starter Scott Feldman, in the fifth inning.
"My hand's pretty much over the hump," Beckham said. "There are some times I feel it a little bit, but I'd say 99 percent of the time it's pretty normal. I'm still wearing a pad in my batting glove, but it's pretty normal."
Two Blackhawks, Patrick Sharp and Brandon Bollig, brought the Stanley Cup to U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday and threw out ceremonial first pitches before the White Sox lost to the Orioles.
"It's great," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's nice having it paraded around town. Everybody likes seeing it. I think they should take that thing everywhere and run it around.
"You hear all the stories going around about the things that have happened to it. It's nice that we get to see it out here."