The American League had lost the last three All-Star Games which seemed to indicate a shift of Midsummer Classic supremacy over to the National League. This year, the Junior Circuit returned to the All-Star Game win column with a 3-0 victory over the Senior Circuit.
CitiField is a pitcher’s park, and it played like a pitcher’s park for the All-Star Game. Not one home run was hit in this matchup and the AL, of course, scored the only three runs.
This has continued a pattern that has become more common in these games as it has throughout baseball. These games are becoming more and lower scoring, and a field that plays as deep as CitiField plays is certainly conducive to lower scoring ballgames. It was thought that, perhaps, the may be more offensively driven thanks to the unusually high temperatures the New York City metropolitan area was experiencing around the time, but that did not come to pass.
The AL looked like they would break through early in the 1st after the Angels’ Mike Trout doubled off starting pitcher Matt Harvey to lead it off. Then, Yankees’ Robinson Cano was hit in the knee to put a second runner on base. Cano would come out of the game and had his knee examined. Luckily for a Yankees team that has been more Doctors’ Row than Murderers’ Row, X-rays returned negative.
Harvey would get out of the first and would pitch 2 innings. The American League would have their hitting shoes on again in the 4th off Patrick Corbin. Miguel Cabrera doubled, followed by a single to right field by Chris Davis, moving Cabrera to third. The Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Cabrera and gave the AL a 1-0 lead.
That run was significant because prior to that 4th inning, the Junior Circuit looked like junior ballers against National League pitching. The AL had been held scoreless in 17 consecutive innings dating back to the 2011 All Star Game in Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. The AL would score 2 more runs—one in the 5th by Adam Jones and one in the 8th by the Royals’ Salvador Perez.
As for the National League, it looked as if the bug of bad All-Star hitting had shifted over to them. The NL didn’t score a single run and only managed three hits throughout the course of the game. Ironically, two of them were from players with ties to the host team. David Wright, a current Met had one of the base hits and the second came from former Met Carlos Beltran, now a St. Louis Cardinal. The last one was a double from the Arizona Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt with 2 outs to go in the bottom of the 9th.
Speaking of Goldschmidt, he was on the receiving end of the defensive play of the game which came courtesy of third baseman Manny Machado. He had to go to his right to field a ball to throw out Goldschmidt in the bottom of the 7th inning.
Ten American League pitchers dominated National League hitting, including starter Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, Grant Balfour, and of course, Mariano Rivera. It may have been in the 8th inning when Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blasted throughout the speakers at CitiField, but it still didn’t take away from the moment that saw Rivera receive a standing ovation from both the AL and NL clubs as well as the CitiField crowd. When he ran onto the field, he was alone on the field. No other players for the hitting NL team or the AL team on defense was on the field when Mariano Rivera was on the pitcher’s mound. He would pitch a 1-2-3 inning in his final All-Star Game appearance.
Some Yankee fans were upset with American League manager Jim Leyland for bringing in Rivera in the 8th instead of having him close out the game in the 9th. After Mo pitched, he told Fox Sports & MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal that in case another one of the American League relievers blew a lead in the 8th, there wouldn’t have been a chance for Rivera to pitch and have the tribute.
The Texas Rangers’ Joe Nathan recorded the final three outs and was credited with the save. Chris Sale picked up the victory and the loss went to Patrick Corbin.
After the game, debate immediately began on if the MVP award would be given to Mariano Rivera despite only going one inning. The award clearly doubled as a lifetime achievement award this year as Rivera was named the All-Star Game’s most valuable player.
This game also featured the singing of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, which is normally a Boston tradition. But, given the events of earlier this year regarding Boston with the Marathon bombings, it was a way for Major League Baseball to continue its show of support to one of its and the country’s flagship cities.
Mets great Tom Seaver was asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to David Wright.
Broadcasting-wise, it’s also the final All-Star Game for Tim McCarver. Say what you want, good or bad, regarding that caveat to the night.
With the 2013 All-Star Game now in the history books, the scene shifts to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minneapolis, Minnesota is now on the clock for the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in the Twins’ Target Field. The Twins are already saying that they plan to incorporate elements into their All-Star festivities that are recognizable to the Twin Cities as well as the state of Minnesota.
Does this mean building a man-made lake near Target Field and naming it after a Twins great? We’ll see around this same time next year.
As for this year, home field advantage in the World Series has been won by the American League and an MVP award was awarded to, unarguably, the greatest baseball closer of all time. Congrats to Mariano Rivera and the American League.
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