MINNEAPOLIS -- As soon as the ball left the bat of Baltimore's Jonathan Schoop in the fourth inning, there was little doubt it would clear the fence. The only question was if it would ever land.Schoop belted a first-pitch changeup from Twins left-hander Adalberto Mejia into the third deck in
MINNEAPOLIS -- As soon as the ball left the bat of Baltimore's Jonathan Schoop in the fourth inning, there was little doubt it would clear the fence. The only question was if it would ever land.
Schoop belted a first-pitch changeup from Twins left-hander Adalberto Mejia into the third deck in left to put the Orioles on the board. His two-run blast was enough to give the O's their first lead, and they never looked back en route to a 5-1 victory Saturday. It was their first win over Minneosta this year and snapped a five-game losing skid.
Per Statcast™, Schoop's two-run shot traveled an estimated 462 feet with an exit velocity of 113.5 mph. It was his longest-projected and hardest-hit homer of the season, and his second-hardest batted ball of any kind. Since Statcast™ began tracking homers at the start of 2015, Schoop's 484-foot homer on Aug. 26 off Kansas City's Johnny Cueto was his only one estimated farther.
"It was real important [to get that early lead]," Schoop said. "Wade Miley pounded the zone and we scored early for him. He kept us in the game and helped us get in and out. We scored runs and that puts you in a good position."
After Mejia retired nine straight batters, Manny Machado smacked a single into center to set the stage for Schoop. The All-Star second baseman, who got his first Major League start at shortstop, wasted no time in his second at-bat against Mejia.
As a team, Baltimore has only three homers that have been recorded longer than Schoop's this year, all three hit by Machado. The homer was also the longest homer hit to left at Target Field this year and third farthest overall, as the Twins' Kennys Vargas (483 feet) and Houston's George Springer (473 feet) both hit their blasts to center.
Schoop's monster home run was also the Orioles' seventh of 450-plus feet this season -- three by Machado, two by Mark Trumbo and two now by Schoop. That broke a tie with the Yankees for the most 450-footers of any team in the Majors.
"Schoop, that's a big homer. That's a big momentum swing for us when he hit that two-run homer," Miley said.
After making his first big league appearance at short in the series opener, Schoop got the nod in the third game of a four-game set. Schoop contributed to six putouts from his position, including an inning-ending double-play in the fourth inning.
Even though it was his first start, it technically wasn't unfamiliar territory for Schoop. He had experience with tracking grounders from that angle when the team has shifted its infield defense.
Still, for a team that has struggled and lacked consistency, Schoop's smooth transition was a positive sign on Saturday.
"We have to take it one game at a time," Schoop said. "Don't think about yesterday. Today we have to win. We have to come back tomorrow and have to try to win again."
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis and covered the Orioles on Saturday.