MIAMI — Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop didn’t wait long to make an impact to help the American League to a 2-1 win in his first All-Star Game on Tuesday night.
After entering the game on defense in the previous half-inning, Schoop picked up the first extra-base hit of the contest with a double down the left-field line in the top of the fifth and scored the game’s first run on a bloop single from Minnesota’s Miguel Sano. The 25-year-old quickly fell behind 0-2 against Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood before fouling off two tough pitches and working the count even.
It was the kind of at-bat that’s become more common for Schoop this season as he’s improved his plate discipline and has led the Orioles in doubles (23) as well as a number of other offensive categories.
“I want to be better every day. I want to be better than I was yesterday,” Schoop said. “I’ve faced [Wood] before, and I know what he’s got. I was just trying to put a good swing on it and hit the ball hard.”
Schoop became the third Oriole to double in an All-Star Game over the last five years, following Adam Jones in 2013 and Manny Machado in 2015. A Miami native, Machado attended the exhibition at Marlins Park and invited Schoop to stay at his home this week.
After watching countless teammates receive invitations to the All-Star Game in his first three major league seasons, Schoop enjoyed his moment in the spotlight.
“It was one of the best moments in my life so far,” Schoop said. “Having fun and playing in front of the crowd. The crowd was good. It was a good display for me.”
The Baltimore second baseman also handled four fielding chances flawlessly, including a quick tag on Colorado’s Nolan Arendo to complete Boston center fielder Mookie Betts’ assist in the bottom of the fourth. Manager Buck Showalter has often spoken about the young fielder’s skill in tagging after being tutored by veteran shortstop J.J. Hardy.
Schoop was replaced in the seventh inning by Robinson Cano, who hit the game-winning home run for the AL in the top of the 10th.
“He hit a ball at the right moment and the right time to get us a win,” said Schoop, who has long admired the Seattle second baseman making his eighth All-Star appearance. “He’s the best for a reason. Not for [just right] now, but for a long time already.”
Former Baltimore reliever Andrew Miller picked up the save for the AL, who has now won five consecutive All-Star Games to even the all-time series with the National League at 43-43-2.
Despite being a low-scoring affair that featured 23 strikeouts and just three extra-base hits, the 88th Midsummer Classic wasn’t without innovation as the FOX telecast included several on-field interviews with players while the action was taking place. The highlight of the night in the novelty department, however, came from ex-Orioles slugger Nelson Cruz, who brought a cell phone to home plate and had his picture taken with veteran umpire Joe West before flying out in the sixth.
“He told me about it,” said Schoop as he laughed about his former teammate’s plan. “I said, ‘You can’t. I bet you can’t do it.’ Then, he did it. It was nice — fun moment.”