Schoop homers in first major league game

Schoop homers in first major league game
September 25, 2013, 11:30 pm
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BALTIMORE – For three weeks, Jonathan Schoop has been patiently watching major league games, hoping to finally get into one. With the Orioles eliminated from playoff consideration on Tuesday, manager Buck Showalter decided it was time to unveil Schoop.

And what a debut it was.

Schoop became the first Oriole to hit a home run in his major league debut in 47 years. He also had a single in first at-bat as the Orioles secured their second straight winning season with a 9-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays 9-5 before 23,698 at Oriole Park on Wednesday night.

The win broke a six-game losing streak, which equaled a season-high, and marked the first time the Orioles scored more than five runs since Sept. 2. The 21 games with five or fewer was their longest since 1958.

Schoop may be the Orioles’ second baseman in 2014. For now, he’ll have to settle for being the third youngest second baseman to homer in his first game.

He admitted to some nerves.

“The first at-bat there was. I was a little bit shaky. After the first pitch, I was thinking, ‘OK, let’s go. Let’s go to work,’” Schoop said.

On the second pitch, Schoop singled to center and scored on the first of Ryan Flaherty’s two home runs. He homered in the sixth.

“It was very exciting. To take the first one out of the way, the pressure away from yourself,” Schoop said.

Showalter decided to rest some of his well-worn players. Adam Jones sat out for the first time in exactly two years, his consecutive games streak over at 322. Matt Wieters and Brian Roberts were rested, too.

In their places were Jason Pridie, Steve Clevenger and Schoop, and this new lineup actually produced the most runs the team has scored since Aug. 25.

After six straight losses, the Orioles (82-76) could appreciate the second straight winning year after 14 straight losing ones.

“Yes, I can. Believe me, nobody knows more than I do how these fellas feel about it,” Showalter said.

“We want to be a part of putting something out there that our fans can be proud of and trust and look forward to competitive baseball. Now, at some point we want to graduate.”

Bud Norris, who hadn’t started since Sept. 8 due to a sore elbow, left after four innings and 96 pitches with the score tied at three.

The Blue Jays scored a run on three singles in the second. Jose Reyes’ drove in Josh Thole.

Toronto (72-86) took a 3-0 lead in the third on an RBI triple by Anthony Gose and run-scoring single by Thole.

Schoop singled in his first major league at-bat off Esmil Rogers (5-9) in the third, and Flaherty hit his ninth home run of the year. It landed on Eutaw Street and cut the lead to 3-2.

Steve Pearce lined his fourth home run of the year to left field in the fourth, and the score was tied at 3.

Norris allowed three runs on seven hits in four innings and ends his first two months with the Orioles with a performance he felt somewhat pleased with.

“It was about getting back out there and prove I can end the season with all the health concerns I’ve had the last couple weeks,” Norris said. “I’m happy with myself, happy with the result and now I’ll go into the offseason and rest up a little bit.”

T.J. McFarland (3-1) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, and watched as his teammates scored three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 6-3 lead.

Josh Stinson, Troy Patton and Jason Hammel finished the final four innings. Hammel earned his first save of the season and fourth of his career.

Nick Markakis had a RBI single, Chris Davis hit a ground-rule double that scored J.J. Hardy and Pridie, who singled in his second at-bat, drove home Markakis with an infield out.

Flaherty added his second two-run home run in the eighth. It was his second two-home run, both against the Blue Jays this season.

“Obviously, you wish the circumstances were a little different
than they are. But nonetheless, it’s still fun. A win’s a win,” Flaherty said. “There was definitely some disappointment. Whether it’s showing or not, every guy was disappointing for sure. With that being said, you got to go out, we got four games left, and play good baseball.”

NOTES: Miguel Gonzalez (10-8, 3.94) faces Mark Buehrle (12-9, 4.09) on Thursday.

-Davis has 198 strikeouts, eclipsing Mark Reynolds’ 2011 record of 196. Davis has 137 RBIs.

-Flaherty is the eighth Oriole to hit 10 or more home runs this year. Davis, Jones, Wieters, Hardy, Markakis, Nate McLouth and Manny Machado are the others.