O's trio gets to share 'pretty cool' experience
All-Stars Johnson, Wieters, Jones all play a part in closer's perfect eighth inning
KANSAS CITY -- There was some comfort for Orioles closer Jim Johnson as he made his first All-Star appearance on Tuesday night.
As the righty entered the game in the top of the eighth inning and peered in for the signs, the catcher was Matt Wieters, the man who catches him regularly in Baltimore.
If he looked out to center field, he could see Adam Jones, another teammate.
"That made it easy," Johnson said. "We didn't have to go over signs and what I throw. We got Jonesy involved, too. It was nice. It was a good time."
Even if Johnson felt a little over-amped, he did the job much the same way he's done it for the Orioles in 2012 -- with dominance.
Johnson mowed through the National League 1-2-3. He threw 11 pitches, seven of them for strikes. The inning started with Jose Altuve grounding out to second. Starlin Castro then flew out to Jones. And Johnson finished strong, striking out Michael Bourn.
"That was pretty cool," Wieters said. "[Johnson is] the one guy you don't have to worry about which way the ball is going to go. I had a pretty good idea what Jim was going to bring to the table, so that brings one inning of a little bit less [mystery] for us out there, for sure."
The only downer for Johnson was that his team trailed, 8-0, by the time he came in, and that was the score the American League lost by.
"It was fun," Johnson said. "I had probably a little too much adrenaline. It was great. I had a good time. Obviously, it would have been more fun to win. But it was definitely quite an experience to be out there and have great fans, great guys on the field."
Wieters caught the last four innings for the AL and went 0-for-2. He actually ended the game, hitting a flyout to right against Jonathan Papelbon, the new Phillies closer.
"I had flashbacks to when he was with Boston, having that kind of energy in the park," Wieters said.
Jones also entered in the top of the sixth, but batted just once, grounding out to first.
To Jones, this All-Star experience easily topped his first in 2009 because he had two teammates to share the experience with in Wieters and Johnson.
"Two teammates with me, so that's a tribute to how we're playing as a team. That's pretty good," Jones said.
Being part of these surroundings, it doesn't take much to put a smile on Jones' face. His favorite part of this year's experience?
"Walking in the clubhouse," Jones said. "It's legit. Great guys everywhere."
Anyone in particular?
"All of them," Jones said. "Especially Papi [David Ortiz]. He's awesome. He's a big 8-year-old out there."
For Wieters, being back on this stage for the second straight year allowed it to feel more natural this time.
"Comfort level," Wieters said. "I think every time you do something, you get a little more comfortable with it and a little bit more of an idea how things are going to go. It's a little more relaxed this year than last year. You try to get everybody out here you can and let everybody experience it."
Wieters figures to become a perennial All-Star, yet he knows he can't take that for granted.
"You don't know if you'll ever be back, and the second time is always a little more relaxed and you're able to sit back and take it in," Wieters said. "Any time you get selected to an All-Star Game, you belong and you feel like you've had a good first half. It's always nice to be able to sit back and look at the names and maybe not be as awed as last year, but to be able to get there a second time and get to play with these great players is pretty special."