clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

American League 2, National League 1: Former Yankees steal the show

New, comment

It took 10 innings, but the American League came out on top.

MLB: All-Star Game Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Over the years, the All-Star Game has developed a reputation for being boring, the denouement of an exciting weekend. The Futures Game shows off prospects, the Home Run Derby is baseball’s marquee marketing event, and the Celebrity Softball Game is too true to be good. The All-Star Game itself just kind of exists, especially now that it’s an exhibition game.

This year, however, the game demonstrated how fun it could be. There were tremendous uniform accessories, photos with the home plate umpire, and roving field interviews by Alex Rodriguez. Tonight, Major League Baseball shared its sense of humor, something that fans don’t see nearly often enough. Plus, there was quite the game as the American League topped the National League by a score of 2 - 1.

The first inning brought us a dream matchup, as Max Scherzer faced off against Aaron Judge. Knowing that he was only pitching this inning, the Nationals ace held nothing back. He had a serious grunt going on, the likes of which one might find at Wimbledon. I know this isn’t exactly new for him, but to say it was unnerving would be an understatement.

With one out and a runner on first base, Scherzer dialed it up to 98 mph against the newly crowned Home Run Derby champion. Judge quickly fell into an 0 - 2 hole, but worked his way back into a full count. He struck out swinging on a nasty slider to end the at-bat. I know that the outcome was disappointing, but I would support more of these matchups in the future. It was a lot of fun.

Judge returned to the plate in the third inning, this time facing Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez. With two outs and Jose Ramirez on second, he grounded out to shortstop to end the inning. Judge made contact this time, but just got on top of it. He would get one more at-bat in the fifth inning, and sent it flying, but it was caught on the warning track. Judge may have gone hitless in the All-Star Game, but last night’s memories will do just fine.

Dellin Betances came on to pitch the bottom of the third and had himself quite the inning. He allowed a leadoff single before striking out Charlie Blackmon. In another premier matchup, Giancarlo Stanton came to the plate with one on and one out. Betances dialed it up to 100 mph before freezing Stanton with a nasty curveball. The home plate umpire called it as a ball, however, so Betances had to break out the slider to strike Stanton out swinging.

Then scary Dellin showed up. He issued back-to-back walks to Bryce Harper and Buster Posey to load the bases. Daniel Murphy, the National League’s batting leader, mercifully grounded out to end the inning. That was one of those white-knuckle Betances innings; he was all over the place.

Credit: Baseball Savant

Thankfully he escaped the jam unscathed. Now let’s hope that he turns the corner when the regular games pick back up this weekend. No more wild pitching, please.

After a few scoreless innings, the American League broke through for the first run of the game in the fifth. Dodgers ace Alex Wood took the mound and quickly retired the first two batters before Jonathan Schoop hit a double down the left field line. Miguel Sano followed with a RBI single to right field that was hit about a mile high. It looked catchable, but no fielder could reach it. That gave the American League a 1 - 0 lead.

It wouldn’t last long, however, as the National League tied the game in the next inning. Yadier Molina, whose catching gear appeared to channel Broken Matt Hardy’s Expedition of Gold getup, took Ervin Santana deep to right field. Santana escaped the inning, but not before surrendering the lead.

The two teams exchanged zeroes for the next few innings, with the bottom of the ninth especially nerve-wracking. Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel came on and he struggled to find the strike zone. He walked Molina before striking out Josh Harrison. A passed ball advanced Molina to second and set up a walk for Jake Lamb. For a while it looked like he was going to literally throw the game away, but he struck out Michael Conforto to end the inning and escape the jam.

It was a good thing that Kimbrel got out of the inning, too. That set up a pair of former Yankees to win the game. Robinson Cano lead off the 10th inning with a go-ahead solo home run. That sweet swing was on full display as the American League took a 2 - 1 lead. Then Andrew Miller came on and closed the door in the bottom of the 10th. How fun is it to win a game with those two?

As for the rest of the Yankees, Gary Sanchez came on to catch in the seventh inning. He lead off the bottom half of the inning, grounding out to second base against Brad Hand. It was nice of the All-Star Game to get two future teammates acquainted. He also struck out against Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning. Luis Severino did not pitch. Ah, well, the game itself was enough fun.

The Yankees kick off the second half of the season on Friday night in Boston. In the meantime, a much needed break!

Box Score