Mid-summer classic eludes NL yet again

IN one of baseball’s most historic cities, the stars of the American League continued their mid-summer dominance of the NL to stretch their unbeaten streak to 13 years.

It was a game where a Tampa Bay outfielder saved a Red Sox pitcher from a loss, a first-time All Star drove in the go-ahead run, a veteran in pinstripes improved his unbeaten ASG record to 9-0-1 and the best closer in the history of the game slammed the door for a record-setting fourth year to consign the National League to yet another defeat.

The American League plated a pair of runs in the 1st inning but the NL hit right back with a three-spot in the home half of the 2nd.

The visiting AL fought back to make it 3-3 in the 5th inning and they came from behind to take the lead in the 8th.

While the pre-game festivities – so often just a predictable preamble to the on-field action – had their share of cheers and jeers, one highlight was the ceremony recognising the true all stars of communities across the country who embody the values that aptly represent the baseball nation – hard work, leadership, passion and teamwork.

Elsewhere, President Obama, sporting a White Sox jacket, threw out the first pitch – a low off-speed offering for those who cared – and then mocked the awful Washington Nationals, Sheryl Crow took the mic to sing the national anthem and Stan The Man Musial received the biggest cheer of the night as he appeared on a cart from right field.

On the field, the best of the best then took centre stage… and Albert Pujols was nowhere to be seen.

In fact, it wasn’t quite the two days the St Louis faithful had hoped for. The slugger failed to win a fat man a Chevy before the home run derby on Monday night, he didn’t make it past the final four in the derby proper and he went 0-3 with an error during the Mid-Summer Classic itself on Tuesday.

24 hours after Prince Fielder stole the manbeast’s thunder in the frankly disappointing longball showdown, it was Carl Crawford, Curtis Granderson and Adam Jones who took the plaudits to give the AL home field advantage in the World Series this fall.

The National League’s heartache began early on, subsided as quickly as it rose and then seared its ugly head again as they failed to solve the connundrum of the Greinke, Paplebon and 39-year-old stopper Mariano Rivera.

Reigning Cy Young winner and NL starter Tim Lincecum gave up a broken bat base hit to lead-off hitter Ichiro Suzuki and he beaned Yankees shortstop Jeter Jeter on the left wrist with an 0-2 changeup.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer grounded into a forceout at third and Mark Teixeira reached on a Pujols error on an in-between hop to score Jeter from second.

Jason Bay singled back up the box to load the bases and Mauer scored to make it 2-0 on Josh Hamilton’s groundball to the right side when Lincecum was slow to cover first base.

The AL’s lead was short-lived however, as Charlie Manuel’s team rallied on the strength of three base hits and an error to move ahead 3-2.

David Wright flared a two-out broken-bat bloop and moved over to second on Shane Victorino’s base hit. Hometown boy Yadier Molina drove in Wright with an RBI single to right field and Victorino tied the game at two when Josh Hamilton’s throw to third base hit the Phillies’ switch hitter and bounced away to the stands.

The National League then took the lead on pinch hitter Prince Fielder’s ground rule double down the left filed line, but the AL knotted the game in the top of the 5th inning when Joe Mauer laced an RBI double down to left to score Derek Jeter from 1st after he had earlier grounded into a forceout at second base.

The NL bats were mostly quiet from here on out until the 7th inning when Red Sox closer Jonathan Paplebon was given a brief scare.

Brad Hawpe launched a first pitch towards the AL bullpen in left field, only to be robbed by a jumping Carl Crawford who pulled it back into the yard for a long, loud out.

Hawpe was one out in a sequence of 18 hitters who were retired in order, such was the American League’s pitchers’ dominance.

The catch would prove to be pivotal as the AL would take a lead they would not relenquish.

Curtis Granderson legged out a one-out triple off of Heath Bell in the top of the 8th inning and he came home on Adam Jones’ 0-2 sac fly to right field.

Adrian Gonzalez took a two-out walk off of Twins’ closer Joe Nathan and the big-hitting Padre went first-to-third on Orlando Hudson’s base hit off the glove of shortstop Jason Bartlett.

The mini-rally brought Ryan Howard to the plate to pinch hit, but Howard fanned on a 2-2 fastball down and in to preserve the slender lead.

Mariano Rivera then took care of business in the bottom half of the 9th inning, setting the side down in order to record his eighth consecutive scoreless inning.

I would be more upset, but with the Mets six-and-a-half games behind in the NL East, I doubt we will be going to the Series anyway.

As with so many other things for Mets fans, there’s always next year.

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  1. bburrows@lhup.edu

    As a Braves fan I’m a little upset Brian McCann didn’t get in until the 8th inning. I think that’s a little disrespectful seeing he was voted in by the players. From a statistical standpoint he should have been starting and this is the second year in a row he has almost gotten snubbed. I wasn’t a Charlie Manuel fan to begin with but now I really don’t like him.

  2. popejonash

    Heya, yeah I think McCann should have come in sooner too, but I’m just as annoyed about Johan seeing 9 innings of pine time. Maybe next year.

  3. bobdawg25

    Thanks for the comment yesterday. I have to say the All-Star game was kind of disappointing last night. But like I said in my blog today, that’s not fair because overall it was a really good “baseball” game. AL was insane last night and killed all momentum the NL had early on in the game. I like your writing style.

    Thanks for the visit.


  4. cardsgirl07

    That game was heartbreaking from an NL perspective. But then, it usually is. We usually have some kind of hope at some point, that gets brutally crushed.

    Nice to see Obama there though. Even if he was wearing a White Sox jacket.

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