Jul 15, 2014, 4:36 PM EDT
MINNEAPOLIS — It’s another cool, windy day in the Twin Cities, but thankfully there’s no rain in the forecast after last night’s already-tedious Home Run Derby was delayed. It should be a beautiful night as the baseball world converges on Target Field for the 85th All-Star Game.
There are no shortage of big-name players to keep an eye on: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Yasiel Puig, Clayton Kershaw, to list only a few. But let’s be honest, the real star tonight is Derek Jeter. Making his 14th and final All-Star appearance, the Yankees shortstop is certain to be the center of attention, and rightfully so. No word yet what kind of tribute MLB has planned for Jeter, but you can bet something is in the works.
Tyler Clippard, as you know by now, is the Nationals’ lone representative. Whether he actually appears in this game is up in the air. As a last-minute roster replacement — and as a guy who has appeared in an All-Star Game before (he earned the win after facing only one batter in 2011) — you’d think he’d be low on the totem pole tonight. But we’ll see. At the very least, Clippard will get his moment along the baseline, standing next to his fellow All-Stars.
Enjoy the game, and please check back for updates throughout…
2014 MLB ALL-STAR GAME
Where: Target Field
Gametime: 8:12 p.m. EDT
Radio: 92.7 FM, 94.3 FM, 980 AM, XM 89, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 69 degrees, Wind 7 mph LF to RF
CF Andrew McCutchen
RF Yasiel Puig
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Paul Goldschmidt
DH Giancarlo Stanton
3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Chase Utley
C Jonathan Lucroy
LF Carlos Gomez
(RHP Adam Wainwright)
SS Derek Jeter
LF Mike Trout
2B Robinson Cano
1B Miguel Cabrera
RF Jose Bautista
DH Nelson Cruz
CF Adam Jones
3B Josh Donaldson
C Salvador Perez
(RHP Felix Hernandez)
HP Gary Cederstrom (cc)
1B Jeff Nelson
2B Bob Davidson
3B Scott Barry
LF Todd Tichenor
RF Vic Carrapazza
7:55 p.m. — They are wrapping up the player intros as we speak. Despite the ridiculous-looking special All-Star Game caps, and the even more-ridiculous-looking National League jersey they’re making Jeff Samardzija wear, these intros always get to me. Easily my favorite moment of the night. Tyler Clippard seemed to enjoy his introduction. He wore full shades, apparently the only All-Star to do that.
8:19 p.m. — And we are underway after a stirring pregame ceremony in which 30 teachers (one representing each MLB team) were honored. Idina Menzel belted out Forever Young and the Star Spangled Banner. A brass quintet played Oh Canada. Derek Jeter received the first of what will be many standing ovations tonight. Rod Carew threw out the ceremonial first pitch. And now Felix Hernandez has fired ball one to Andrew McCutchen amid a flurry of lightbulbs. Let’s play ball!
8:26 p.m. — Oh man, we almost had a perfect moment to start this game. Jeter dove well to his left to snag McCutchen’s hot shot, then hopped up to his feet and fired to first base. The crowd was about to explode … until first base ump Jeff Nelson called McCutchen safe. Yeah, I know it was the correct call. But come on, you gotta give Jeter that one, right? Apparently not. McCutchen nearly stole the show in the top of the first, taking second on a wild pitch and stealing third. But he was stranded there when Paul Goldschmidt grounded out to third to end the inning.
8:41 p.m. — What a start for the AL. As Jeter stepped to the plate, the late Bob Sheppard’s familiar intro — “Number 2, Derek Jeter, Number 2″ — piped in over the PA system as Adam Wainwright stepped off the mound, Jonathan Lucroy and Gary Cederstrom stepped away from the plate to give Jeter his moment. Then as the crowd began chanting “Der-ek Je-ter!” he lined one of his trademark, opposite-field doubles down the right-field line. And that was just the beginning. Mike Trout (who ain’t too shabby himself) drilled a triple off the wall in right field, scoring Jeter with the night’s first run. A few minutes later, Miguel Cabrera did his part to try to steal yet another MVP award away from Trout by drilling a 2-run homer to left. Just like that, it’s 3-0 American League, and Mike Matheny’s decision to start Wainwright over Clayton Kershaw isn’t looking so hot.
8:55 p.m. — Don’t count out the NL just yet, folks. They can hit a little bit, too. Back-to-back doubles by Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy off Jon Lester brought home a pair of runs and trimmed the AL lead to 3-2 in the middle of the second. And now here is Kershaw taking the mound for the NL.
9:14 p.m. — Things have settled down a bit here, with Kershaw tossing a 1-2-3 bottom of the second and Yu Darvish tossing a 1-2-3 top of the third that included a 56 mph eephus pitch! Even Livan Hernandez had to be impressed with that. To the bottom of the third we go, Alfredo Simon taking the mound with the NL still trailing 3-2.
9:28 p.m. — Hey, it’s another base hit for Jeter, this one a single right field. You know, if only this guy tried to go the opposite way a little more, he might have built himself a pretty good career. Oh, well. Still 3-2 AL after three.
9:41 p.m. — After the entire AL team took the field for the top of the fourth, Alexei Ramirez emerged from the dugout to replace Jeter at shortstop. So Derek got his final moment walking off the field to another standing O. As Sinatra’s “New York, New York” played over the P.A., he gave hugs to everybody in the AL dugout, then came back up the dugout steps to acknowledge the NL dugout and the crowd one more time. Nice moment, of course. Even nicer from the NL’s perspective: Lucroy ripped his second RBI double of the night, tying this game 3-3.
10:00 p.m. — It’s been a rough 24 hours for Yasiel Puig. First, he was shut out in the Home Run Derby. And now he’s 0-for-3 with three strikeouts tonight. Target Field has been a Bat-Flip-Free Zone this week.
10:21 p.m. — Well, Tyler Clippard just got his All-Star moment. Though it wasn’t quite what he expected. Summoned to pitch the NL out of a fifth-inning jam, with runners on second and third, one out and the pesky Jose Altuve at the plate, Clippard fired a curveball. That hit the backstop on the fly. And ricocheted right back to catcher Devin Mesoraco. Who nearly threw out Ramirez at third base. Chaos. Clippard then served up a rocket to the diminutive Altuve, though it was hit right at the left fielder for a sac fly. Now all he had to do was face some guy named Miguel Cabrera. The two engaged in a pretty good battle, with Clippard finally winning on the eighth pitch, getting Miggy to fly out to center on a changeup. So after all that, it’s 5-3 AL after five, Clippard did manage to retire both batters he faced, and now only needs the NL to score three runs in the top of the sixth to have a shot at vulturing the win.
10:33 p.m. — Sorry, folks, no Clippard vulture tonight. The NL went down in the top of the sixth, so they still trail 5-3.
10:49 p.m. — The NL is running out of time to mount a rally. Still 5-3 at the seventh-inning stretch.
11:05 p.m. — Six more outs for the NL to try to score at least two runs. It’ll be Starlin Castro, Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rizzo in the top of the eighth against left-hander Sean Doolittle.
11:18 p.m. — The NL had a shot at something in the top of the eighth, putting two on with two out. But Fernando Rodney got the only Met in this game, Daniel Murphy, to strike out. So much for that. Still 5-3 AL heading to the bottom of the eighth.
11:26 p.m. — Aroldis Chapman vs. Yoenis Cespedes. Me like. Groundout on the second pitch. Me don’t like. To the ninth we go, it’s 5-3 AL and the Twins’ own battery of Glen Perkins and Kurt Suzuki will try to close this one out.
11:31 p.m. — Ballgame. AL wins, 5-3. Game 1 of the World Series will be in an AL park this fall.
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