The American League snapped a three season losing streak while winning home field advantage in the World Series thanks to a 3-0 victory over the National League in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game.
Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect eighth, winning All-Star MVP for his efforts. The 43 year old Yankees closer is the first relief pitcher to win the award.
Ten AL pitchers combined to dominate the NL with a three hit shutout. Chris Sale tossed the the second and third innings for the AL, receiving credit for the victory. Joe Nathan earned the save by pitching the ninth. Patrick Corbin took the loss for the NL, allowing a run in the fourth. In a pitching dominated game, Jose Bautista, J.J. Hardy and Jason Kipnis each had an RBI for the AL.
Not only was it a victorious night for the AL and manager Jim Leyland, It was a very productive night for the Detroit Tigers, five players getting in on the action.
Earning the start with his 13-1 record, Max Scherzer pitched a scoreless first inning.
Voted a starter by the fans, Miguel Cabrera played into the sixth, going 1-for-3. Cabrera scored the first AL run of the game after a fourth inning lead off double. The Tigers' third baseman also made a couple of excellent defensive plays.
Prince Fielder took over at first base in the bottom of the sixth. Was the comedy relief of the game, leading off the ninth by legging out a TRIPLE.
Jhonny Peralta entered on defense in the seventh, chipping in an eighth inning single in his only at bat.
Torii Hunter pinch hit in the eighth, bouncing into a double play. Hunter finished the game as the AL's center fielder.
Justin Verlander was the only Tiger to not participate. He was on the roster, but unable to play due to pitching on Sunday.
This was one of the best overall performances by the Tigers in an All-Star Game in recent memory. Scherzer didn't allow a base runner in his first All-Star appearance, while Cabrera, Fielder, Peralta and Hunter combined on a 3-for-6 night, Cabrera scoring the game winning run.
Silly as it may be for an exhibition to determine anything of importance, best news of all is the AL has clinched World Series home field advantage.
With six players in attendance, five able to participate, there was plenty of Tigers action in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game .
Miguel Cabrera struck out swinging is his first at bat with two on and no one out in the first. Cabrera fell behind in the count 0-2, worked back to 2-2, then waved at an outside fastball for strike three.
In his first All-Star Game, Max Scherzer was lights out in his first and only inning of work. The tigers' setting the NL down in order on 12 pitches. Scherzer had turned the wick up, hitting 98 MPH on the radar gun while striking out Joey Votto. Chris Sale took over in the bottom of the second.
Top of two, Cabrera made a nice defensive play on David Wright's ground ball down the third base line. Cabrera made a backhand stop, then throwing out Wright by a step.
Cabrera continued the flash glove leather in the third, snagging a line drive bullet off the bat of mohawk wearing Bryce Harper to end the inning. After three full, the score was knotted at zero, the NL yet to have a base runner.
Top of four, Cabrera led off against Diamondbacks left-hander Patrick Corbin. Cabrera drilled Crobin's 1-2 hanging breaking ball into the right center field gap, cruising into second with a stand up double. Cabrera advanced to third on Chris Davis' line drive single off the glove of Votto at first. Cabrera would score the first run of the game on Jose Bautisita's sacrifice fly to deep center, the AL taking a 1-0 lead. A lead they would never relinquish.
The Tigers' third baseman continued his busy night on the field in the bottom half of the fourth. He had his third putout of the night, gloving Brandon Phillips' slow chopper, firing an on-target off-balance throw for the first out of the inning.
The AL no-hit bid ended a batter later, Carlos Beltran singling off King Felix Hernandez. Pinch runner Andrew McCutchen stole second, advancing to third on a ground ball. McCutchen would be stranded thanks to another nice play by Cabrera, ending the inning by charging Wright's slow roller and easily throwing him out.
If the "Cabrera can't play third" BS hadn't already been put to bed, his defensive play in this Al-Star Game was the final nail in the meme's coffin.
The AL increased their lead to 2-0 in the fifth. Facing Cliff Lee, Adam Jones led off with a double into the left field corner. Joe Mauer bounced a single off the glove of Troy Tulowitzki, Jones stopping at third, having held up to see if the ball would reach the outfield. Jones scored the second run of the game when J,J, Hardy bounced into a 6-4 fielder's choice, the AL pushing their lead to 2-0.
Through five innings the NL had just one hit as the AL clung to their 2-0 lead,
While FOX was busy interviewing ex-Tiger scrub, now lights out Pirates closer Jason Grilli (Who saw that coming six years ago?), Cabrera led off the sixth against Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez, popping up for the first out.
At this point, Scherzer and Cabrera were the only Tigers to have made an All-Star Game appearance. That changed in the bottom of the sixth, Prince Fielder taking over at first base for Crash Davis. But Cabrera also took a seat, replaced by Orioles uber-rookie Manny Machado.
Meanwhile, Grant Balfour entered the game for Matt Moore in the bottom of the sixth, and proceeded to walked lead off man Michael Cuddyer. Before the Leyland - Phil Coke jokes could get traction, Balfour set down the next three NL batters to end the inning. Ridiculous as the rule is, the AL was now nine outs away from earning home field advantage in the World Series.
The next Tiger to get into the game was shortstop Jhonny Peralta, taking over for Hardy in the bottom of the seventh.
Jim Leyand was Captain Hook/Robin Ventura mode, using three relievers to get three outs in the seventh. Greg Holland, Brett Cecil and Final Vote winner Steve Delabar each retired a batter, the AL still holding to their 2-0 advantage. Furiously managing the game like it was a game seven (or as he would if he didn't hav , Leyland's "Let's put nothing but relief pitchers on the AL Final Vote ballot" strategy had paid off.
Salvador Perez on base with a lead off single in the eighth, Peralta moved him to second by looping a single to right. The next batter was also the next Tigers to get into the game, Torii Hunter pinch hitting for Mike Trout. Hunter bounced into the AL's fourth double play of the night, eliminating both Tigers from the base paths.
Perez now on third with two out, Jason Kipnis came through for the AL with a big two out hit, lining an RBI double over the head of left fielder Domonic Brown to make it 3-0 AL.
Making his final All-Star appearance, Mariano Rivera pitched the eighth for the AL. It was a perfect three up, three down for the sure fire Hall of Famer, leaving the AL three outs away from their first All-Star win since 2009.
Fielder led off the ninth, facing ex-Tiger Jason Grilli. Fielder sent a looper into short right. Playing deep, right fielder Carlos Gonzalez raced in and went for the hero play. Gonzalez's head first dive went for naught, the ball rolling well past him. Fielder got on his horse and raced all the way to third, ending his trip with a head first crash.
Unfortunately, that was as far as Fielder would go. Grilli retired the next three batters in order, stranding the big man.
With Rivera pitching the eighth, Joe Nathan got the nod from Leyland to close out the game. After two were out, Goldschmidt extended the game by doubling to right, only the third NL hit of the night. Nathan went to a full count on Pedro Alvarez, before ending the 2013 All-Star Game by inducing a pop up to Kipnis in short right.
GAME OVER. Your final score is American League 3, National League 0.
Up next, the two slowest sports days of the year. The Tigers next take the field Friday night in Kansas City.
Matt Harvey's first pitch was at 8:20. At 8:20:02, Mike Trout was on his way to second with a lead off double.
Harvey drilled Robinson Cano in the right knee with a fast ball. Cano was forced to leave the game, replaced by Dustin Pedroia.
X-rays were negative, said EVERYBODY.
Robinson Cano update: #ASG pic.twitter.com/ROcEeFAPjZ— Kevin McGuire (@krmcguire) July 17, 2013
This. pic.twitter.com/hRWFEAhksf— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) July 17, 2013
. After the fact, Harvey was extremely apologetic.
Harvey on Cano on ESPN Radio: "I obviously feel terrible about hitting him. That's the last thing you want to do in a game like this."— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 17, 2013
Is Max Scherzer color blind too?
Some guys still wear white shoes in the AS Game (a 40-year tradition). But this is becoming the new tradition. pic.twitter.com/3N93O13rLM— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) July 17, 2013
Scherzer on his shoes, referring to his different color eyes: "I said the hitters are going to see orange, brown and blue."— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 17, 2013
Scherzer showed up on Twitter in the third inning.
What a day! Starting the ASG.. 3 up 3 down.. and don't forget the orange cleats!— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) July 17, 2013
What does a starting pitcher do when he leaves the game? #Scherzer #ASG https://t.co/8OOVeLJA1e— MLB (@MLB) July 17, 2013
Before Miguel Cabrera had his first career extra base hit in an All-Star Game, he accidentally FLUNG his bat halfway into the lower deck. Josh Hamilton would love to get that kind of spin and distance.
GIF via Guyism and @WorldofIsaac
A fan ran on the field in the fifth, though FOX refused to show the action. Because if you show it, everyone will run on the field in every game from here on out, right?
Fan rushes the field! Security takes him out!!— HardballTalk (@HardballTalk) July 17, 2013
But thanks to Twitter, we get to see a pic of the highlight reel hit!
Nice tackle by security on this knucklehead for running on the field. #asg pic.twitter.com/0k3kCrZIR9— On The Black (@ontheblack) July 17, 2013
You can see video of the fundamentally solid tackle by clicking here.
Philles starting pitcher Cliff Lee or wanted serial killer? You make the call.
Jose Fernandez was brilliant in his inning of work. Not that you would have known it, being Joe Buck spent the entire half inning on an meaningless interview with Jason Grilli.
Jose Fernandez turns 21 in 2 weeks and he just mowed down two of the best hitters in baseball. But sure, let's talk about Jason Grilli more.— Matt Burnell (@mdburnell) July 17, 2013
Cabrera was pulled after 5 1/2, deservedly happy with his performance.
Miguel Cabrera out of game. Double, run scored, some nice defensive plays. "A good day," he said, smiling broadly.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 17, 2013
We've time traveled to 2009. Jhonny Peralta, Cleveland Indian.
Jhonny Peralta in at short for bottom 7th. Announced in press box as a Cleveland Indian.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 17, 2013
The excellent defensive play by the AL was highlighted by Manny Machado robbing Paul Goldschmidt of extra bases in the seventh. Click pic for GIF goodness:
Odd stat of the night:
Salvador Perez is the first Royal to get an All-star hit since Bo Jackson.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 17, 2013
Leaving the bullpen to the strains of "Enter Sandman," Mariano Rivera received a standing ovation from both the Citi Field crowd and players on both rosters as he entered the game to pitch the bottom of the eighth. It was a nice move by Leyland to have Rivera pitch the eighth with a lead, making sure he got into his final All-Star game with the spotlight solely on him. During a ninth inning interview, Rivera called Leyland's eighth inning move, "A great idea."
Unfortunately, expect Leyland to be grilled. Rivera pitching the eighth didn't fit the media narrative.
Mariano thanked Leyland for making sure he got to pitch. But I still can't figure this out. I think Leyland overthought it. Wrong script!— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 17, 2013
While Tim McCarver was reciting the lyrics to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" like it was poetry, Prince Fielder TRIPLED leading off the ninth. But he was summarily stranded. Well, we'll always have the spectacular GIF of the big man circling the bases.
The AL will strand Fielder at third and leave us all to wonder if the batters werw actually Martinez, Peralta, and Infante in disguise— Brian A. (@pharmy1917) July 17, 2013
Questions about bullpen usage. Can't plate a leadoff triple. Yes, this AL team is truly a Jim Leyland squad.— Scott Rogowski (@DNR_Rogo) July 17, 2013
Jim Leyland: Manged the Hell out the AL squad. With World Series home field on the line, it's nice to see a manager work the game with some urgency. Leyland also handled the Rivera situation well.
Miguel Cabrera: Doubled to trigger the game winning rally. Cabrera played excellent defense as well, to the shock of Joe Buck and anyone else who doesn't watch him play on a daily basis.
Max Scherzer: Can tell Justin Verlander, "That's how you start an All-Star Game!"
Prince Fielder: Fat guy triple!
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