The American League holds the National League to just three hits in tonight’s 3-0 win. With the win, the American League has home-field advantage in this year’s World Series.
Against local favorite, New York Mets’ Matt Harvey, the American League got started in a good way, mostly. On the first pitch of the game, Los Angeles Angels leftfielder Mike Trout took the 97-mph fastball to right field for a double. On the second pitch to Robinson Cano, the phenom right-hander hit the Yankees second baseman on the side of the right leg with a 96-mph fastball. He would limp to first base and stay for one more at-bat. He would exit and be replaced by Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Robinson Cano would be diagnosed with a quadriceps contusion. It is uncertain if he will miss the first regular season game of the second half on Friday at Boston.
Detroit Tigers’ Max Scherzer got the start for the American League and was great in his single inning of work, striking out one. Chicago White Sox starting pitcher, Chris Sale, had two perfect innings of work too. After Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw pitched a clean inning of work, Arizona Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin got the fourth inning.
Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera hit a double to right center field to start the inning. Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis followed with a single off the glove of Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto to put runners on the corners with no one out. Toronto Blue Jays rightfielder Jose Bautista hit a sacrifice fly to center field and the American League was ahead by one.
In the fifth inning, Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee started the inning and started the inning with a leadoff double from Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer hit a single to the right of Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies’ shortstop would make a diving attempt on the ground ball but would just slow it down enough to keep the run from scoring. Orioles’ shortstop J.J. Hardy grounded out to the right side of the infield and Jones would score the second run for the American League.
In the seventh inning, the American League would use three relievers (Royals’ closer Greg Holland and Blue Jays’ relievers Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar) to get the three outs. The game would continue onto a historical, albeit somewhat questionable, moment.
For us Yankees fans, the familiar sound of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” echoed throughout the other New York ballpark, Citi Field, as New York Yankees’ closer, Mariano Rivera, jogged to the mound. Upon reaching the mound, Mariano Rivera would realize that he stood alone on the dirt-and-grass diamond that he treasures so much.
Just Mariano Rivera stood on the mound for a moment. No infield, no outfield, just Mariano Rivera.
Those in attendance, fan and player, American League or National League, stood and gave Rivera a standing ovation as the all-time saves leader acknowledged the respectful moment with a wave of his New York Yankees cap.
Back to the game, Mariano Rivera got Milwaukee Brewers’ shortstop Jean Segura grounded out to Cleveland Indians’ second baseman Jason Kipnis. Pinch-hitting, St. Louis Cardinals’ Allen Craig hit a fly out to Kansas City Royals’ outfielder Alex Gordon for the second out. Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Carlos Gomez would ground out to Detroit Tigers’ shortstop Jhonny Peralta for the third and final out in Rivera’s last All-Star Game appearance.
With a three-run lead, Texas Rangers’ closer Joe Nathan would come in for the ninth inning and the save opportunity. He would begin by striking out St. Louis Cardinals’ second baseman Matt Carpenter and Pittsburgh Pirates’ centerfielder Andrew McCutchen for the first two outs. Arizona Diamondbacks’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt hit a double to right center field but Pittsburgh Pirates’ third baseman Pedro Alvarez popped out to second base and the game was over.
Notably, Prince Fielder hit a triple in the top of the ninth inning but would not score.
For the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, the award was without a doubt. Mariano Rivera, in his final All-Star Game, received the honor. In nine career All-Star appearances, Mariano Rivera has a 0.00 ERA. You could argue that other players deserved this honor but you would be wrong. Mariano Rivera is the second Yankee to win the All-Star Game MVP. The first was Derek Jeter in 2000.
In this, his final All-Star Game, Mariano Rivera should have pitched the ninth inning but he got the eighth inning. With pride, respect and a love for the game of baseball, he pitched the eighth inning without a single complaint. And he was what fans of baseball know him as: perfect.