Jorge López’s first All-Star Game experience was brief. Took him longer to warm up than to pitch. But it was perfection.
López faced two batters in the bottom of the seventh inning and retired them on two ground balls.
Total number of pitches: Three.
One blink and you risked missing it.
Replacing former Orioles Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes Jr., López made Kyle Schwarber ground to shortstop Corey Seager on a first-pitch, 98 mph sinker.
Jake Cronenworth took a 98 mph sinker for a ball and hit a 97.8 mph fastball to second baseman Santiago Espinal.
Gregory Soto replaced López with the American League ahead 3-2.
López was the lone Orioles’ representative after posting a 1.62 ERA and 0.925 WHIP with 17 saves in his 40 appearances. He struck out 51 batters in 44 1/3 innings, and allowed only three home runs – though they came in succession on July 1-4.
Two in Minnesota resulted in blown saves, and another against the Rangers on July 4 broke a 5-5 tie in the ninth. The Orioles rallied to win 7-6 in 10 innings.
López is the first Orioles pitcher to participate in the All-Star Game since Zack Britton in 2016. John Means didn’t make it out of the bullpen in 2019.
Britton and Brad Brach in 2016 were the last Orioles relievers selected. Britton earned the save, but Brach didn’t pitch.
The 2020 All-Star Game was canceled due to the pandemic. Cedric Mullins started in center field in 2021 and went 0-for-2 with a run scored.
The Seattle Mariners host the 2023 All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park. The Orioles haven’t hosted since 1993, the second year of Camden Yards.