After being booed during pregame introductions by the heavily pro-Orioles home crowd at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md., Bryce Harper answered with an RBI groundout to second in the first inning of the South Atlantic League all-star game.
Suns third baseman Blake Kelso led off the inning with an infield single off the glove of the first baseman, and with Kelso running, Manny Machado singled up the middle to move Kelso to third and put runners on the corners for Harper.
Lefty Taylor Whitenton, the starter for the South team, fell behind 3-0 to Harper, and Harper took a mighty cut at a 91-mph fastball that he missed. On 3-1, Harper hit a slow grounder to second to score Kelso.
Harper may get another at-bat, in which case I will detail it here. But I’ve been told he will play no more than half the game.
Incidentally, Harper’s brother, Bryan, is a pitcher for the University of South Carolina, which is playing Virginia in the College World Series in Omaha at the same time as this game. Harper said before the game he hoped to keep tabs on the Gamecocks by smuggling his cellphone into the dugout. I think he was kidding.
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: Harper, first-pitch swinging, lined out sharply to shortstop against Savannah lefty Chase Huchingson to lead off the bottom of the fourth — and he is now out of the game, replaced by Greensboro’s Christian Yelich in right field to start the fifth.
So, Harper goes 0 for 2 with an RBI in his first professional all-star game. His North squad is losing to the South, 6-2.