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AL nabs home field in World Series with ASG win over NL

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AL nabs home field in World Series with ASG win over NL

By Mark Zuckerman

CSNbaltimore.com

FINAL: AL 6, NL 3

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The 86th MLB All-Star Game already was a major event before Mike Trout stepped to the plate for the night's first at-bat. That's what happens when Pete Rose is introduced on the field in Cincinnati, and then Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays all take the field together as baseball's four greatest living players.

Trout, though, certainly did his part to turn the attention to today's active players. He hammered a home run to right off Zack Greinke to lead off the game and give the American League a quick lead. The National League got that run back thanks to Jhonny Peralta's 2-out RBI single in the second, but the NL lineup was mostly stymied the rest of the night by the AL's dynamite pitching staff.

Andrew McCutchen homered off Chris Archer to lead off the sixth, but that was it for the NL until the ninth. The AL lineup, on the other hand, was far from done. Prince Fielder and Lorenzo Cain delivered back-to-back RBI hits in the fifth off Clayton Kershaw. Manny Machado and Fielder then added big insurance RBI in the seventh off Francisco Rodriguez.

Once Brian Dozier took Mark Melancon deep in the eighth, this one had turned into a mini-rout. The AL bullpen closed out a comfortable victory and thus secured home-field advantage for the World Series for the third straight season.

MORE ORIOLES: MANFRED ON PITCH CLOCK, SCHEDULING, EXPANSION

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: It took Trout all of four pitches to make his presence known once again in this event. Facing Greinke (owner of a 1.39 ERA this season), he clobbered a 1-2 pitch deep to right and over Harper's head for his first career All-Star homer. Here's the really impressive part: Trout has now hit for something of a natural All-Star cycle. He singled in his first at-bat in the 2012 game. He doubled in his first at-bat in the 2013 game. He tripled in his first at-bat in the 2014 game. And now he homered in his first at-bat in the 2015 game. How cool is that?

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: It was only one inning of relief, and it came with his team trailing in the sixth inning, but Jacob deGrom was utterly dominant on the mound. The Mets right-hander struck out Stephen Vogt, Jason Kipnis and Jose Iglesias in succession, all swinging, all on a grand total of 10 pitches. In the process, deGrom became the first pitcher in All-Star history to strike out the side on 10 or fewer pitches. Not bad.

NATS HIGHLIGHT: Harper was front-and-center in this game, batting third for the NL and starting in right field. And he wound up getting to play six innings and take three at-bats. Alas, he couldn't notch his first-ever All-Star Game hit. Harper grounded out to third off Dallas Keuchel in the first inning. He struck out against David Price in the fourth inning. And after just missing a double down the left-field line in the sixth, he struck out against Zach Britton. That's three awfully tough lefties for Harper (or anybody) to have to face in succession, but he of course won't make any excuses for an 0-for-3, 2-strikeout night. Harper's career numbers in the Midsummer Classic now stand at 0-for-6 with a walk and three strikeouts.

KEY STAT: The only Washington player ever to hit a home run in the All-Star Game remains Frank Howard off Steve Carlton in 1969 at RFK Stadium.

UP NEXT: The Midsummer Classic heads west next year, to be played in beautiful Petco Park in beautiful San Diego. Then after a stop in Miami in 2017, Nationals Park gets to host the 2018 All-Star Game. No, tickets aren't available yet.

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm