Jonathan Schoop had to be kicking himself after his two-out error in the first inning Saturday allowed the St. Louis Cardinals to take the early lead. But he made up for it and then some with one of the biggest games of his promising career.
Schoop balanced the defensive books when he made a terrific play to rob outfielder Tommy Pham of a leadoff hit in the second. He then had two hits, a run and an RBI during a seven-run Orioles bat-around in the bottom of that inning.
It would have been a nice game if he had stopped there, but Schoop was just getting started. He would homer in each of his next two at-bats to tie a career high with four hits and lead the Orioles to a 15-7 victory before 27,788 that was their biggest offensive eruption of the season. It was their most runs since an 18-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 16, 2015.
“You’ve got to forget about the past," Schoop said. “I know I made a tough error, but we came back and scored runs for Wade [Miley]. You try to forget about it and get better.”
The football score notwithstanding, it wasn’t an easy victory. Miley had a nine-run lead through four innings, but the Cardinals inched back with a couple of middle-inning home runs. The Cardinals (31-36) actually had the potential tying run on deck in a three-run sixth when Mychal Givens came on get out of a bases-loaded situation.
Miley pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up six runs (five earned) to earn his third victory of the year, but raised his ERA from 3.97 to 4.29. He still looked at it as a step forward after failing to complete three innings in each of his previous two starts.
“Absolutely," he said. “I made a lot better pitches today. There were some pitches that weren’t so bad that got hit. The homer to right-center early – the two-run homer – I tip my hat. I executed the pitch. I threw where I wanted it and he just stayed on it and hit it over there. So, definitely a step in the right direction.”
The Orioles (33-34) hammered a total of five home runs — three of them in the first two innings against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. He took the mound with a lead and retired the first two batters he faced before allowing back-to-back homers to Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo. He would get just three more outs and leave without completing the second inning for the first time in his major league career.
Even with the victory, the Orioles have won just two of their past 10 games, but those two victories have come over the past four days while the first-place New York Yankees have lapsed into a five-game losing streak. So the victory moved the Orioles back to within 5½ games of first place and the big offensive performance took some heat off the inconsistent lineup
“It was a really good feeling,” Schoop said. “We’ve been doing it for four years already and it’s really good when you win. It’s a really good feeling and we want to do it more. We want to get better and try to win more games.”
Givens taketh away: Manager Buck Showalter couldn’t have enjoyed bringing Givens out of the bullpen with a five-run lead, but things were starting to go sideways after relievers Alec Asher and Richard Bleier failed to get the last out of the sixth inning. In effect, it was a middle-inning save situation and Givens didn’t waste any time converting it. He needed just three pitches to strike out Eric Fryer to end the inning, then pitched two more scoreless innings.
Wainwright’s shortest: To be exact, it was the first time in his 268 major league starts that Wainwright has failed to complete two innings. He was charged with nine runs on seven hits, a walk and a hit batter. Every Orioles hitter he allowed to reach base went on to score.
It was the second time in his past three starts that he allowed nine runs. The Cincinnati Reds scored nine off him over 3 2/3 innings on June 6. He also allowed seven hits in that game.
Manny unwinds: Manny Machado has been trying to get into a groove at the plate and Saturday’s game appeared to be a big step in the right direction. He hammered his 13th homer of the year in the second inning and opened the fourth with a double before scoring on a wild pitch for a 10-3 lead.
Plunk, plunk, plunk: The Orioles needed extra ice packs after the game. Cardinals hurlers hit Jones, Seth Smith and Joey Rickard with errant pitches. All three were hit in the legs and remained in the game.
The kid is all right: Cards rookie Paul DeJong hit a home run in his first major league at-bat back on May 28, but that was his only home run until he arrived in Baltimore this weekend. He homered, had two other hits and drove in three runs Friday night and launched a two-run home run off Miley in the fourth inning Saturday.