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D-backs’ Marte, National League drop All-Star Game to American League

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 09: Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the National League bats against the American League during the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard at Progressive Field on July 09, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte was one of 36 first-time players in the Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

Marte started the game for the National League and batted eighth.

His sole hit came in the top of the third with a double to lead off the inning.

Despite Marte’s double, Tuesday’s exhibition was dominated by the pitchers.

Justin Verlander, Shane Bieber and the American League’s best plugged power back into the mound.

A day after the Home Run Derby got baseball buzzing even more about monster shots, only a couple balls flew out of Progressive Field at the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

Instead, Verlander blazed 97 mph heat from the start, Bieber struck out the side and the AL staff combined to fan 16, topping a loaded NL lineup 4-3 for its seventh straight win.

With fans hoping to see a replay of Monday’s jaw-dropping aerial show when 312 homers cleared the walls, the diamond became a pitchers’ paradise – at least until the late innings.

Derby champ Pete Alonso of the Mets grounded a two-out, two-run single past Gleyber Torres in the eighth to close the NL’s gap. After a double steal put runners at second and third against Cleveland reliever Brad Hand, White Sox catcher James McCann made a tumbling catch on Mike Moustakas’ twisting foul pop to end the inning.

Aroldis Chapman threw a perfect ninth to give the AL its 19th win 22 games, with a tie stuck in there. Chapman got a little encouragement with two outs – Yankees teammate CC Sabathia, honored this week for his contributions on and off the field, strolled to the mound to talk to the flamethrower.

Chapman then struck out Yasmani Grandal for a save, giving the AL an overall 45-43-2 lead in the Midsummer Classic.

No need, either, for the experimental rule that was set to go effect: If the game went into extras, each team would start the 10th with an automatic runner on second base.

Major League Baseball is on a record-shattering pace for homers this season, but no one came close to clearing the walls until Charlie Blackmon connected in the NL sixth. Texas’ Joey Gallo countered with a solo drive in the seventh.

Still, it was a far cry from last year’s All-Star Game that featured a record 10 home runs.

Instead, Cleveland favorite Michael Brantley had an early RBI double off losing pitcher Clayton Kershaw, Jorge Polanco drove in a run with an infield single and another scored on a double-play grounder.

Winning pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, Lucas Giolito and Shane Greene did their parts to protect the lead with scoreless innings, shutting down Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger and the rest of the NL boppers.

Bieber earned the MVP award in front of his home fans, striking out Willson Contreras, Ketel Marte and Ronald Acuna Jr. in the fifth.

NL starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, Mets ace Jacob deGrom and Luis Castillo threw scoreless innings to keep the NL close in the early going.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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