O's make most of All-Star experience
Four Orioles see time, make impact on AL's win in Detroit
DETROIT -- After two days of hype and leadup, Brian Roberts didn't have a game feeling going into Tuesday's All-Star Game. Thanks to a quick play from Miguel Tejada, he didn't need long to feel comfortable.
Two batters into the game, Tejada's quick backhand to knock down Carlos Beltran's sharp one-hopper began a 6-4-3 double play from the American League's best middle infield duo this season. It set the tone for an All-Star Game that had a decided Baltimore influence thanks to four All-Stars.
Tejada and Roberts teamed up for two of the three double plays the American League turned, tying an All-Star Game record. The second twin-killing, started with a quick flip from Roberts, helped erase a two-on, none-out situation for defending AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana in the fourth
Tejada's home run started the American League's scoring barrage in the second inning, and Roberts' ground-rule double down the right-field line and run scored continued it in the fourth.
The duo combined to go 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs. Defensively, they looked as if they knew where the other would be at all times.
"The more they play together, they're just going to get better," said O's reliever B.J. Ryan, who pitched in the ninth inning and protected the lead his teammates helped assemble. "What they do offensively and defensively, they bring a lot to the table."
Ryan and Roberts spent much of their night marveling at Tejada, who won MVP honors. However, Roberts did fairly well himself with his father and former college coach Mike Roberts in attendance. With four putouts and four assists, he accounted for more outs than anyone on the AL side.
He'll readily give credit for that stat. "I love playing beside Miggy," he said of Tejada.
Add in Melvin Mora, who replaced Alex Rodriguez at third base later in the game, and the Orioles eventually represented three-quarters of the American League infield.
"It just shows how well we played over the first half," Ryan said. "It's fun to watch these guys turn a couple double plays, because I've had a chance to watch that day in and day out."
It marked Roberts' first All-Star Game since 1993, a game he attended as a fan when the Midsummer Classic came to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. More than anything from that game, he remembers the sweltering heat in Baltimore that night, so the game time temperature in Detroit felt familiar.
The American League's lineup was just as hot, enough so that he didn't mind waiting around to bat ninth. "It's fun to watch this lineup," he said. "It's fun to sit back and watch a couple innings before you hit."
Ryan watched for eight innings before relieving Indians closer Bob Wickman with no outs in the ninth. He gave up an RBI double to Luis Gonzalez before retiring Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Lee on back-to-back groundouts. He then gave way to Mariano Rivera for the save.
"You just take in the whole experience," Ryan said.
Now, they'll all turn their focus on the second half, trying to take the momentum from last week and turn it into a charge back into the AL East lead.
"We just need a couple guys," Mora said. "Jason Grimsley's going to come back, and Erik Bedard's already throwing in the Minor Leagues, and Javy Lopez is getting ready. When those guys come back, it's going to be different. We're going to be complete. We're going to perform like we did in the beginning [of the season]."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.