Walk-off signifies Schoop's journey, dedication

With season interrupted by knee sprain, O's 2B making presence felt

Walk-off signifies Schoop's journey, dedication

BALTIMORE -- As Jonathan Schoop stood in the on-deck circle awaiting his chance to face Tanner Roark in a tied game in the bottom of the ninth, he and Manny Machado had a little conversation.

"Manny told me to, 'Hit a double for me to drive you in or hit a home run, one of those two,'" Schoop explained. "I said, 'I'm going to try to hit a double for you, and you drive me in.' I didn't want to be selfish, you know?"

It turns out the Orioles second baseman has a little selfish blood in him after all, as he delivered the walk-off home run on Friday that gave the Orioles a 3-2 series-opening victory over the Nationals in front of Camden Yards' largest home crowd of the season.

Schoop's walk-off homer

After seeing Roark strike out Jimmy Paredes and J.J. Hardy to begin the inning, Schoop battled with the righty before sending a 2-2 slider about three rows into the left-field stands for the first walk-off home run of his career.

"To be honest, I knew [it was a home run], but after that, the ball kept dying, dying," Schoop said. "So [I said], 'Please, get up, get up.'"

Schoop was mobbed by teammates at the plate and was the recipient of a celebratory pie to the face by Adam Jones following the postgame celebration. He answered questions from the media with a smile on his face the entire time and got to experience the cheers of 46,289 spectators.

Jonathan Schoop's walk-off homer

The moment was perhaps more satisfying considering what it took for Schoop to get here.

Schoop has played in just 14 games this season after being placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 18 with a right knee sprain. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 16 and reinstated on Sunday, joining the team in Chicago.

Schoop spent most of his rehab in Florida working out with the Orioles vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson, strengthening his knee in the scorching southern heat.

Schoop finished Friday's game going 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI -- while also showing some slick glovework -- and is hitting .250 on the season. Five of Schoop's 11 hits have been home runs, and the Orioles are 19-2 in games in which Schoop has homered in his career.

Schoop's quick hands

Friday's game-winning knock was his first walk-off home run at any professional level, and one that Schoop hopes will help spark the team as the season continues.

"It makes it worth it, because you work so hard to be back, and it's paying off right now quick," Schoop said. "We have to keep going. This is not the end. This is something to give me more motivation and get me more confident in myself."

Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.