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Davis sets new franchise record with 51st homer

Davis sets new franchise record with 51st homer

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Davis sets new franchise record with 51st homer

BOSTON -- The 51st started the same way so many others did: The pitch appeared to be outside the strike zone and Chris Davis barely reached it with his long swing.

And then it ended the way so many others did: Out of the ballpark.

Davis set a new Orioles franchise record in the sixth inning of Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Red Sox when he belted his 51st home run, a deep shot to center field off Boston starter Ryan Dempster. The home run broke the previous single season record of 50, set by Brady Anderson in 1996.

Anderson, the vice president of operations for the Orioles, was at Fenway Park to see it. He gave Davis a big hug and told him he was proud of the new record holder.

"To be honest, I took a deep breath when I hit 50," Davis said. "To be tied with him, in the same conversation -- the biggest thing for me is to go out and have quality at-bats and help the team win."

Davis also tied Anderson's club record for extra-base hits in a season with 92, which leads the Majors.

The record-breaking homer was a thing of beauty. The pitch from Dempster was low. Davis went back and watched the tape afterward and said it was a good pitch. But Davis has been hitting good pitches out of the park all season.

"He's strong, man," Dempster marveled. "He just lifted that ball and got it up in the air -- way, way, way up in the air. It just kept carrying."

Dempster said he's noticed the progression as Davis has turned into the third player in Major League history to hit 50 homers and 40 doubles, joining Babe Ruth (1921) and Albert Belle ('95).

"Strike zone recognition," Dempster said. "Learning your swing a little bit I'm sure. He's made adjustments. When you do that at the big league level, the more adjustments you make, the quicker you make them, the more successful you're going to be."

Davis said he never thought he got enough of the pitch to hit it high enough to clear the 420-foot sign in deep center field. But he cleared it easily.

"No it's funny, the last couple of balls I've hit to center here, I've hit them really high," Davis said. "I felt like every time I see a ball up out there, [Shane] Victorino is running underneath it. I didn't know it was gone when I hit it. I hit it hard, but I didn't know if it was going to be caught or not."

Fifty-one homers later, Davis has put together the most impressive offensive season in Orioles history.

Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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