National League snaps 9-game losing streak at MLB All-Star Game
Jul 11, 2023, 8:58 PM
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
SEATTLE (AP) — Elias Díaz hit a two-run homer off Félix Bautista in the eighth inning, and the National League snapped a nine-game losing streak in the All-Star Game with a 3-2 win over the American League on Tuesday night.
The NL won for the first time since an 8-0 victory in 2012 in Kansas City thanks to Díaz, a catcher who became the first Rockies player to win the All-Star MVP award.
Díaz, who was non-tendered by the Pirates at the end of 2019, drove a 2-2 pitch from Baltimore’s hard-throwing closer deep to left to put the NL in front. Díaz was the lone representative for Colorado in his first All-Star Game appearance.
— MLB (@MLB) July 12, 2023
He has nine homers this season, but hadn’t hit a long ball since June 23 against the Los Angeles Angels.
“This means a lot to me, to my family,” he said. “Being in the ASG for me is amazing.”
For most of the night, the All-Star Game was a pitchers’ duel highlighted by a couple big hits and some excellent defense.
It got nervous for the NL in the ninth. Wander Franco flied out to the warning track leading off against Philadelphia closer Craig Kimbrel, who issued two-out walks to Kyle Tucker and Seattle star Julio Rodríguez.
Kimbrel recovered to strike out José Ramírez to end it. Kimbrel also pitched in the previous NL win, recording two outs in 2012.
Yandy Díaz hit a solo homer in the second inning and Bo Bichette’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning gave the AL a 2-1 lead.
J.D. Martinez doubled and scored on Luis Arraez’s single in the fourth against Seattle’s George Kirby, tying it at 1. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. appeared to tie the game again in the seventh when his shot down the left-field line was originally ruled a homer but was overturned as a foul ball on replay.
The All-Star Game returned to the Emerald City for the first time since 2001 when the Mariners were in the middle of their magical 116-win regular season, Cal Ripken Jr. said goodbye to the All-Star stage and Tommy Lasorda took a tumble.
Gerrit Cole became the first New York Yankees pitcher to start the All-Star Game since Roger Clemens in that 2001 game. He needed a pair of spectacular leaping catches from Adolis García and Randy Arozarena near the wall to escape the first inning unscathed.
Baseball is the best pic.twitter.com/nTR63hQBfp
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 12, 2023
Pitching was the story of the night. Only nine balls were hit over 100 mph. There were 20 combined strikeouts, including Camilo Doval silencing the home crowd with a strikeout of Rodríguez in the seventh inning where four of the five pitches topped 100 mph.
The All-Star Game was missing some big names with Mike Trout and Aaron Judge out with injuries, but it still had Shohei Ohtani.
The Angels star had an uneventful night with a strikeout and walk as the designated hitter. He drew the biggest cheers outside of Seattle’s three representatives during introductions, and he was serenaded with chants of “Come to Seattle” when he was at the plate.
The hometown crowd is well aware of his pending free agency this offseason.
“Never experienced anything like that, but I definitely heard it,” Ohtani said through his interpreter. “But I was trying to focus on my at-bat.”
Toronto reliever Jordan Romano left in the seventh after throwing the pitch that Gurriel hit foul and was originally ruled fair. He threw five pitches before leaving the game with tightness in his back.
Chicago White Sox slugger Luis Robert Jr. did not play after feeling tightness in his right calf during the Home Run Derby. The White Sox said Robert underwent an MRI in Seattle and is listed as day to day.
The Rangers made All-Star history when Nathan Eovaldi took the mound in the second. That marked the third time in an All-Star Game when there were six players from the same team on the field at the same time. It also occurred with the 1939 Yankees and 1951 Dodgers.
“That’s got to be one of the cooler moments in sports when you’ve got half the team on the field is your team, especially under these circumstances,” catcher Jonah Heim said. “It’s really special and I was glad I got to share it with these guys today.”
The Tampa Bay duo of Shane McClanahan and Wander Franco were inadvertently skipped over during pregame introductions. The pair jogged in on their own and left it to the Rays’ social media staff to give them a proper announcement.
ODE TO THE SONICS
Milwaukee’s Devin Williams has no known connection to Seattle, but did his part in winning over fans with his footwear choice for the All-Star Game. Williams had custom green and yellow spikes made for the game, featuring past logos of the Seattle SuperSonics on each shoe.
Williams said he’s a casual NBA fan and doesn’t really remember the Sonics playing in Seattle.
“It seemed pretty fitting for the game,” Williams said.
Six of the eight members of Seattle’s All-Star contingent from the 2001 game were recognized pregame. John Olerud, Bret Boone, Freddy Garcia, Jeff Nelson, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Edgar Martinez and manager Lou Piniella were honored. Ichiro Suzuki and Mike Cameron were also on the All-Star team that season.
Baseball Hall of Famers Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr. threw out the ceremonial first pitches to former teammates Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner.
The post-All-Star break portion of the schedule starts Friday with every team in the league scheduled to be in action. San Diego at Philadelphia is the first game scheduled for Friday. The second half begins with Atlanta having the best record in baseball at 60-29 and an 8½-game lead in the NL East. Tampa Bay has the best record in the American League at 58-35, two games better than Baltimore.