MINNEAPOLIS – The 85th Annual Major League Baseball All Star Game is over and the American League came out victorious, beating the National League 5-3 Tuesday night in front of 41,048 fans. It was the third All Star Game hosted by the Twins, with all three coming in different stadiums.
With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth, the American League roughed up local boy Pat Neshek for two runs in one third of an inning. Those two runs ended up being the difference.
Mike Trout, the two-time runner-up for American League MVP finally beat out Miguel Cabrera for the MVP hardware. It was Trout’s one-out double that gave the AL the lead. Trout finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs batted in.
The American League took a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Following a loud ovation or Derek Jeter, the Yankee shortstop doubled down the right field line off Adam Wainwright. Trout followed with a triple off the right field wall that scored the Yankee captain. After striking out Robinson Cano, Cabrera, the back to back reining AL MVP crushed a Wainwright offering, sending it into the left field bleachers for a two-run homer.
“If you get a look at the pitch where Miguel Cabrera hit out of the park was,” Wainwright said. “He is a Nintendo-type player. He is so good. That ball was on the white line, chalk inside off the plate. Nobody keeps that ball fair. He is just a very good hitter.”
Before the game, Wainwright talked about having never faced Jeter before in his career. Now, the retiring Yankee will go out with a perfect 1.000 batting average against the Cardinals’ ace.
“He is 1-for-1 with a double and a run scored,” Wainwright said. “I am just glad I got to face him, whether that was the outcome or not. It is something I can always say to my kids, that I faced one of the greatest of all time. He got a hit and he beat me. I am proud to have faced him.”
Wainwright then struck out Jose Bautista and got current MLB home run leader Nelson Cruz to ground out.
The National League responded in the second, getting two of the runs back. Aramis Ramirez singled and scored on a double by Chase Utley. Jonathan Lucroy followed Utley with a double of his own to drive in the NL’s second run and cut the AL’s lead to 3-2.
The National League tied the game in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Utley was hit by a pitch and speedy Dee Gordon was brought in pinch run. The move worked as Lucroy ripped his second double of the game to right field, allowing Gordon to score all the way from first.
The game remained tied 3-3 until the top of the sixth. Pat Neshek started the inning and after retiring his first batter, former Oakland teammate Josh Donaldson, another former A’s teammate, Derek Norris singled. Norris moved to second on Alexei Ramirez’s single before scoring on Mike Trout’s double.
That was it for the Minneapolis native as Matheny pulled Neshek in favor of Tyler Clippard.
Clippard’s first batter, Jose Altuve, hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Ramirez, extending the AL’s lead to 5-3. From that point on, the American League never relinquished its lead.
Cardinals’ pitching was charged with all five American League runs in just 1.1 innings of work. Matt Carpenter, Matheny’s selection to the team, never got in the game.
“Adam was out there, pretty excited and once he got that curveball working, I think things looked a little different,” Matheny said. “But you are not going to be able to make many mistakes in a game like this and get away with them. Cabrera got a good pitch too, (and he) is a pretty good hitter.
“Neshek, I can’t imagine a guy being more amped to be here,” Matheny continued. “Maybe some guys as amped, but everything considered, this was a big, big deal and a tough situation to throw him into. But, he has been in those all year and came in, and once again got a little more of the plate. But, both of those guys had tremendous seasons and I can’t wait to watch them get back there.”
Dodgers’ outfielder Yasiel Puig followed up his zero home run performance in the home run derby with an 0-for-3 day at the plate in the All Star Game, striking out all three times, once looking.
The National League had eight hits total with Brewers teammate’s Lucroy and Aramis Rameriz each accounting for two. The other four went to Andrew McCutchen, Troy Tulowitzki, Freddie Freeman, and Utley. Todd Frazier walked and Utley was hit by a pitch.
As for the AL, it had only seven hits, but bunched them together with three in the first and three in the fifth. Trout and Jeter each had two hits while Derrick Norris, Alexei Ramirez, and Cabrera also hit safely. Adrian Beltre drew the AL’s only free pass.
Twins closer Glen Perkins got the save as he threw a perfect ninth inning. Perkins was paired with his Twins’ battery mate Kurt Suzuki for the final three outs of the game.
“I thought it was fitting that Glen Perkins and (Kurt) Suzuki are pairing up and teaming up to close this out,” American League skipper John Farrell said. “I felt it kind of worked in our favor. It fell in our laps a little bit to show two hometown guys and send this game off the right way.”
With the loss, the American League will have home field advantage over the National League for the second straight year in the World Series.