Another All-Star Game has come to a close, but this one became one for the history books with a grand total of 10 home runs (5 for each team) in an All-Star Game. That beats previous records of 6 total homers in an ASG in 1951, 1954, and 1971. It’s also worth noting that the American League officially moved into the lead with 44 wins over the National League’s 43 wins.
Random trivia: there have also been 2 ties in All-Star Game history — in 1961, the game was tied 1-1 and called after 9 innings due to rain; in 2002, the game was tied 7-7 and ended after 11 innings after running out of pitchers (which was actually a violation of the rules). The fans in 2002 were so outraged, they were throwing things on the field and booed and demanded refunds. And if you have ever looked up how much ASG tickets are, you can see why that might have been an issue.
The next year, they instituted the “home field advantage” for the ASG winner, something that they got rid of for the 2017 ASG. NL losing teams for the last 14 years of World Series felt at a disadvantage, thanks to 11 of those 14 years the AL winning the home field advantage and 8 times the AL teams won. It could just be that the AL teams were better that year. But what do I know? Also, the ASG winners just win more money than the ASG losers.
Anyway, there was another All-Star Game tonight, and the AL edged out the NL in extra innings again. The AL has beaten the NL the last 3 times in extra innings — 2008 (15 innings), 2017 (10), and 2018 (10). Until then, the NL came out over the AL the previous 9 times games went into extras (1950-1994).
After a swift 1st inning, the AL got on top first with the Yankees own Aaron Judge in the 2nd inning. Facing off the Nationals’ ace Scherzer, Judge liked the 2nd pitch and hit it deep into the visitor’s dugout in left field. (That would be the first Yankees’ hit in an All-Star Game since Jeter’s 2 hits in his final ASG in 2014.) The NL called on the Mets’ deGrom for the 3rd inning, but he gave up a 2-out solo home run to the Angels’ Trout to double the AL’s early lead. But then, the Rays’ Snell gave up a lead-off solo homer to the Cubs’ Contreras to get the NL on the board in the 3rd.
The AL pitchers spent the next 3 innings fending off any potential NL offensive advances, until the 7th inning. Morton (Astros) came on for the bottom of the 7th and had a less than idea outing. He gave up a 1-out solo homer to Story (Rockies) to tie up the game. The NL continued to advance with a walk and hit-by-pitch that moved into scoring position with a wild pitch. But a pop-out ended the threat then.
And the AL batters answered back in the top of the 8th against the Brewers’ pitcher Hader. Choo (Rangers) led-off with a single, and Springer (Astros) then hit a 1-out single. After an error for a dropped foul (a very strange call for leaning slamming into the dugout wall while missing the catch), the next batter was a pinch-hitter Segura (Mariners) who slammed a 3-run home run into the left field seats to push the AL back into a nice lead.
A new reliever Hand (Padres) closed out the inning, and the Brewers’ Yelich got back a run for the NL with a 1-out solo homer off Morton (Astros) in the 8th. They came back again in the 9th off Diaz (Mariners) who gave up a 1-out walk to Realmuto (Marlins) and then a 2-run game-tying home run to pinch-hitting Gennett (Reds), the first home run of the game to go into the right field seats, by the way.
So, into the 10th inning, the game went. As tradition, the coaching staffs for each team were from last year’s World Series teams (Dodgers and Astros), so it makes sense that both managers heavily relied on their own players even in messy or tight situations, even when another player might have been a better option (see Morton’s 2 sloppy innings above).
As such, the NL sent in their pitcher Stripling for the 10th inning and he promptly gave up consecutive solo home runs to Astros’ batters Bregman and Springer to put the AL back on top. After 2 singles (Mariners’ Segura and Red Sox’s Moreland) put runners on the corners, Stripling finally got a strikeout, and the Indians’ Brantley hit a long sacrifice fly to score Segura.
The AL responded with Happ (Blue Jays) to earn the save. But he gave up a 1st pitch solo homer to Votto (Red) to give the predominantly NL crowd hope. It was not to be as he needed just 11 pitches to get out of the inning, earn the save and give the AL the final victory of the night.
Final score: 8-6 American League, in 10 innings
Usually, the MVP is awarded to the difference maker in the game, which I initially thought would be Segura (Mariners), but they opted for the Astros’ Alex Bregman because of his 10th inning homer to break the extra innings tie. (Perhaps, the deciding factor/favor might be his home coaching staff for that decision. But what do I know?) However, he did choose the beautiful bright blue Camaro SS, which he gifted to his mother, and I can’t hold that against him.
So, how did the Yankees do in this year’s All-Star Game? Aaron Judge, as you already know, went 1-for-2 thanks to that 2nd inning solo home run, and also worked a 4th inning walk. Gleyber Torres was on video duty (sorry, it’s sideways), filming Judge’s heroics for his Twitter followers. Aroldis Chapman cheered on his fellow pitcher Luis Severino, who despite giving up a lead-off double in the 2nd, had 3 quick outs to keep the NL scoreless. Severino also became the youngest pitcher to get a strikeout in an All-Star Game. Plus, he was the one who actually caught Judge’s home run in the dugout.
Next year, the All-Star Game will return to an AL park (after 3 consecutive years in NL parks). Cleveland’s Progressive Field will host the 90th All-Star Game on July 9, 2019. They last hosted the game in 1997. The Dodgers are then slated to host in 2020.
See you all Friday! The Yankees will be back in the Bronx to host their crosstown rivals, the Mets for the weekend.