THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BALTIMORE — The Orioles will stand alone atop the AL East at the All-Star break, thanks to another home run by Mark Trumbo and a comeback fueled by an unusual balk.
Jonathan Schoop trotted home with the tying run in the seventh inning and delivered the decisive RBI single in the eighth to carry Baltimore past the Los Angeles Angels, 3-2, on Saturday.
The Orioles have been alone in first place since June 16 and will remain there through the break, which begins after the conclusion of Sunday’s schedule.
Righthander Yovani Gallardo, who allowed two runs in five-plus innings, said, “Being in first place going into the All-Star break, it’s good. But we all understand we’ve got a long way to go.”
Angels starter Nick Tropeano, of West Islip and Stony Brook University, made his 12th start of the season and first career against the Orioles, and he was impressive. He gave up only one one run and five hits in six innings, striking out eight. He left with a 2-1 lead, but the bullpen promptly gave it away.
After the Orioles got runners to second and third in the seventh against JC Ramirez, Joe Smith (1-4) came in and immediately dropped the ball from the set position for a balk, enabling Schoop to score.
“I just messed up. That’s the most embarrassing moment I’ve ever had on a baseball field,” Smith said. “That was 100 percent my fault.”
In the eighth, Manny Machado and Chris Davis singled before Schoop lined a single to center to bring in the go-ahead run.
Brad Brach (6-1) worked the eighth and Zach Britton finished for his 26th save. Both relievers are going to the All-Star Game. Daniel Nava had two RBIs for the Angels, who were bidding for their season-high fifth straight win.
Trumbo hit his major league leading 28th home run for Baltimore, a solo shot in the second inning. It was the Orioles’ 135th homer of the season, their most before the break.
“We had some opportunities to break the game open,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “So obviously, there’s going to be a spotlight on the balk in the seventh inning, but there’s a lot of things that led up to that.”
Limited to three hits over the first five innings, Los Angeles erased a 1-0 deficit in the sixth. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Nava, who ripped a two-run single off the right-field scoreboard.
Mychal Givens replaced Gallardo and pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam. In the seventh, Givens struck out Mike Trout with two outs and a runner on third.
One of the game’s finest defensive plays occurred in the fifth inning. After Jett Bandy hit a liner off the wall in left-center, Adam Jones barehanded the carom and zipped a throw to second base for the out. Andrelton Simmons followed with an inconsequential single.