Chris Davis gained the nickname "Crush" last summer when the big first baseman was putting together a historic season for the Baltimore Orioles.
However, this season Davis had not looked like the guy who set a club record and led the major leagues with 53 homers last season. At least until Tuesday night, that is.
Davis belted three home runs Tuesday night in the Orioles' 9-2 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates that gave Baltimore just its third win in the last nine games.
Davis, who started the day with just three homers, hit a two-run shot during a four-run fifth inning that put the American League East-leading Orioles ahead 6-1, then added a solo blast in the seventh and another two run-shot in the ninth. He also had four hits and five RBIs.
The home run barrage came after Davis got to PNC Park early in the afternoon for extra batting practice, still upset about an 0-for-4 performance in a loss to the Royals at Kansas City.
"I felt like I just had some good pitches to hit and I rolled over everything, so I got here early today and worked on some stuff," Davis said. "It just sometimes clicks for you and today was one of those days."
It was Davis' second career three-homer game -- the other came on Aug. 24, 2012, against Toronto -- and seventh multi-homer game. After leading the major leagues and setting a franchise record with 53 homers last season, Davis hit just three in his first 30 games that included a disabled list stint from April 26-May 11 with a strained left oblique.
"Even in spring training, there were some at-bats where I would feel good and have good results, but I just didn't feel like I was right and then obviously with the injury, missing some time coming back, my timing was all screwed up," Davis said.
Left fielder Nelson Cruz also homered, following Davis' shot in the fifth, to give the Orioles their second set of back-to-back homers of the season. Center fielder Adam Jones had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Shortstop J.J. Hardy also had two hits.
"Chris is just such a threat and you know he's capable of having a night like this at any time," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (2-3) pitched six effective innings for his first road win of the season. He gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Left-hander Francisco Liriano (0-4) was rocked for six runs and nine hits in five innings His streak of winless regular-season starts reached 13, dating to Sept. 10 at Texas.
"I was leaving too many pitches over the middle of the plate," Liriano said. "I was missing my spots a lot and I couldn't repeat two good pitches in a row. I wasn't executing my pitches with men on base and the bases empty."
First baseman Ike Davis homered for the Pirates, his second in 27 games since being acquired from the New York Mets in a trade on April 18, in the seventh inning. Second baseman Neil Walker and center fielder Andrew McCutchen had two hits each.
The back-to-back home runs by Davis and Cruz keyed a four-run fifth inning that extended the Orioles' lead to 6-1 after they scored twice in the fourth to move in front.
Jones hit a run-scoring double in the fifth then scored on a two-run blast to right field by Davis. Cruz followed with his 13th homer, a long drive to center field, to cap the outburst.
"We didn't execute our pitches," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We gave them hittable pitches."
NOTES: Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy threw 18 pitches in an extended spring training game Tuesday at Sarasota, Fla., the first time the organization's top prospect had faced hitters from another organization since undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery last June. ... Baltimore C Matt Wieters, on the disabled list with a strained right elbow, said he is feeling considerably better after having a platelet-rich plasma injection last week and should be activated long before the projected date of July 1. ... Pirates LF Starling Marte returned to the lineup after a strained left hamstring forced him to leave the second game of Sunday's doubleheader against the Yankees at New York. ... The two-game series concludes on Wednesday night with Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman (4-2, 3.34) facing Pittsburgh LHP Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 6.84 ERA).