The American League ended their losing streak against the National League in the All-Star Game as the AL All-Stars topped the Senior Circuit 3-0 on Tuesday night at Citi Field. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect eighth inning and received the game's MVP award.
Right off the bat, the first inning was rather eventful as Robinson Cano was drilled in the leg by a pitch from Matt Harvey that forced him from the game. Fortunately, X-Rays came back negative and Cano said that it was really more of his quad than his knee. He's expected to be fine. The Yankees really cannot afford to lose their best hitter, particularly in an exhibition game, so that is certainly a bullet dodged.
Jose Bautista drove in the first run for the AL on a sacrifice fly that scored Miguel Cabrera from third base in the fourth inning. Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy drove in his teammate Adam Jones on a force out in the fifth off Cliff Lee, and Jason Kipnis doubled in Salvador Perez for the final AL run of the game in the eighth inning against Craig Kimbrel.
Rivera came on to pitch the eighth inning, as expected without a big lead for the American League, to the sounds of Enter Sandman and thunderous applause. If you didn't get goosebumps, we weren't watching the same scene. In typical Mo fashion, he sat down his opponents in order and walked off the field to more applause from every All-Star and fan alike. It was an incredible moment. If you missed it, you can watch it here.
There has already been a lot of hand-wringing over Leyland not letting Mo pitch the ninth inning, but I can understand why he didn't. If he uses Rivera for a partial inning, people complain that he didn't do Mo justice in giving him three outs. If he plans to let Rivera pitch the ninth and Nathan blows the game, he's crucified for not getting Mo into his last All-Star game. The moment was amazing and memorable, Rivera got the MVP award, and that's satisfying enough for me, personally. It would have been nice to see Rivera close it out like we have seen him do so many times in his career; but Mo deserved, more than anything else, his farewell moment. He got that tonight.
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