The American League was looking for their fifth consecutive win, but with 28 first-time All-Stars on both teams, the National League looked ready to take the title back. Despite the fact that the ASG no longer decides home field advantage, the chance to watch the best in baseball compete and have fun was well worth it.
With an unknown future facing the Marlins here in Miami, the new ownership questions continued to swirl as potential buyer and Miami-based entrepreneur Jorge Mas sat directly behind Jeffrey Loria in the owner section. Tonight, above all things, was an exciting night to honor the city of Miami, the Marlins faithful, celebrate the star-studded All-Stars, and to remember the legacy of the late, great Jose Fernandez.
Max Scherzer (10-5, 2.09), the Nationals flamethrower, kicked things off for the NL team. He got Jose Altuve on a groundout back to the mound, struck out HR Derby Champion Aaron Judge on a 3-2 slider, and got George Springer swinging to retire the side.
Chris Sale (11-4, 2.71) pitched the first and second for the American League. With his jersey intact, Sale worked through the best the NL had to offer via Charlie Blackmon, Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Daniel Murphy, Nolan Arenado, Ryan Zimmerman, and Marcell Ozuna.
The constant and never-ending question “Who is the official face of baseball?” wasn’t answered tonight. However, I think we can officially state that Bryce Harper at least has the official hair of baseball.
The first score of the night was given up by Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood (10-0, 1.76) in the fifth inning. With a season strikeout rate at 30.9%, he is dealing at roughly the same rate as teammate Clayton Kershaw (31.4%). However, Miguel Sano hit a single to drive in Jonathan Schoop to give the AL a 1-0 lead.
As with every professional sports exhibition game, the MLB added in some...fun twists. The inevitable Joe Buck interviewed Springer and Harper on the field via earpiece and mic. While Springer hit on the success of the Astros, Harper’s main points covered whether or not he was wearing an undershirt and how Joe thought the Dallas Cowboys would do in the upcoming NFL season. The majesty of this game is truly astounding. Also, Skip Bayless everyone:
An All-Star Game first, on Fox: Bryce Harper talking live to Joe Buck in booth about how Dak/Zeke will do next yr WHILE HE'S PLAYING RF!— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) July 12, 2017
The story of the sixth inning was all Yadier Molina. While catching in the top of the inning, Nelson Cruz called time. He then took his phone out of his pocket, handed it to Molina, and snapped a pic with veteran umpire Joe West.
Nelson Cruz took a quick break from the game for a photo with Joe West pic.twitter.com/NQMsmNjycc— SB Nation (@SBNation) July 12, 2017
Cruz would go on to fly out to bring up the NL’s crew. After Cody Bellinger grounded out, 34 year old Molina took Ervin Santana (10-6, 3.04) 385 feet deep to become the oldest catcher to homer in an ASG. With the game tied at one, there was no more scoring through the ninth.
With two outs and Molina and Jake Lamb on base, Michael Conforto struck out, courtesy of Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel (23 saves), to bring on some extra baseball!
Robinson Cano faced Wade Davis (16 saves) of the Cubs to kick off the 10th. Davis dropped a breaking ball through the zone and Cano smashed a no-doubter over the right-field wall.
With the National League on their last leg, Andrew Miller (1.84 ERA) of the Indians faced Corey Seager. Seager hit a definite base hit line-drive to right, but Justin Upton’s speed allowed him to drop in for a catch just in time. Ender Inciarte then knocked a grounder to Francisco Lindor to bring the game within an out. With Joey Votto on first and Bellinger at the plate, Miller dropped in a slider to win it for the American League in the three hours and sixteen minutes. The series is brought to 43-43-2 over the last 88 years.
Robinson Cano would go on to be named All-Star Game MVP, the first Mariner to do so since Ichiro in 2007.
The best moment of the game occurred before it even started. MLB invited all Latin-born Hall of Famers to throw out the first pitch. The family of Roberto Clemente, Juan Marichal, Luis Aparacio, Rod Carew, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Perez, Roberto Alomar, Pedro Martinez, and Ivan Rodriguez deserve enormous amounts of praise for their contributions to the game.
Look for the Marlins to get back to business Friday, July 14th against the Dodgers at home in Miami. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.