Hot-hitting Schoop proving clutch for Orioles

2nd baseman crushes go-ahead homer vs. Rays in latest display at plate

Hot-hitting Schoop proving clutch for Orioles

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jonathan Schoop is becoming one of the Orioles' most clutch hitters.

The 24-year-old hit a tie-breaking homer in the eighth inning Friday night, giving Baltimore a 4-3 win to keep its two-game lead in the American League East.

"[Chris] Archer is a really good pitcher. He's a tough at-bat," said Schoop, who now has 10 game-winning RBIs, second most on the team. "He threw me a fastball up and then he hung a slider, and I took advantage of it."

And he did it in front of 24 friends and family members at Tropicana Field, who were on hand from Schoop's home country of Curacao.

"It's just fun to watch a young player," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Schoop's 15th homer. "You see the game's starting to slow down for him, and he's letting the game come to him. He's always in fire mode. Jon, he enjoys contributing to a win, and it's nothing individual. Jon's a good kid, and he likes winning, he likes contributing."

Schoop is batting .303 on the season and .351 (52-for-148) with 14 doubles, seven homers, 25 RBIs and 31 runs scored since June 1. He also stretched his hitting streak to 10 games with the 0-1 blast off Archer.

"[I] just try to keep a routine and try to swing at more strikes," Schoop said. "Sometimes, it doesn't come, I swing at everything, but I want to improve. I want to be better than I was last year."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.