Chris Davis went 0-or-5 to set a major league record for the longest hitless streak by a position player, extending his drought to 49 consecutive at-bats in the Baltimore Orioles’ 12-4 rout of the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.
Davis hit three flyballs before striking out in the seventh and eighth innings, leaving him 0-for-28 this season and 0-for-49 since hitting a double early in a game Sept. 14. The previous longest drought by a non-pitcher was 46 at-bats, by Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Eugenio Velez.
Davis has heard plenty of boos from the home crowd this season, but many among a meagre crowd of 6,585 at Camden Yards offered him encouragement with every trip to the plate. The announced attendance was the lowest in the history of the ballpark, with the exception of a game in 2015 that was closed to the public at a time when the city was plagued by rioting.
The highlight of Davis’ night was an opposite-field liner to the edge of the warning track in left field on his record-setting 47th straight fruitless at-bat.
Velez went hitless over his last nine at-bats of the 2010 season before going 0-for-37 in 2011, the last of his five major league seasons. That enabled him to eclipse the previous longest hitless streak of 45, shared by Pittsburgh’s Bill Bergen (1909), Dave Campbell of San Diego and St. Louis (1973), and Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell (2011).
Davis owns a second dubious record all by himself. He hit .168 last year, the worst batting average in major league history for a qualified player.
Davis is in the fourth season of a $161 million, seven-year contract that has proven to be a hindrance to the rebuilding Orioles.
The 33-year-old has two RBIs this season — on a bases-loaded walk and a forceout — and has struck out 15 times.
In spite of this, first-year manager Brandon Hyde is being patient with former two-time major league home run leader.
“I was hoping he’d get off to a good start and he would play well early and hit,” Hyde said. “I’m pulling for him. I’m trying to put him in position for success, and I talk to him a lot. He’s up front with it.”
On a night in which Davis couldn’t get a hit, his teammates banged out 15 and reached double figures in runs for the first time this season.
Jonathan Villar homered and had four RBIs, Trey Mancini went 3 for 3 with a homer, Cedric Mullins hit two triples and drove in three runs and rookie shortstop Richie Martin’s first multiple-hit game included a triple and a pair of singles. Mullins scored on a Little League homer after a throwing error from second baseman Jurickson Profar in the second.
Still seeking his first victory with Oakland, Marco Estrada (0-1) gave up six runs in four innings.
Andrew Cashner (2-1) allowed three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings to help Baltimore snap a four-game losing streak.
Josh Phegley and Mark Canha homered for the A’s, who have dropped four in a row.