Jul 15, 2014, 11:32 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Everyone knew coming in what the 85th Midsummer Classic would be all about: Derek Jeter. And the Yankees shortstop didn’t disappoint in his 14th and final All-Star Game appearance. Afforded no fewer than three standing ovations, he rose to the occasion by going 2-for-2 with a double and a single, also making a spectacular play in the field on the very first batter of the night. Jeter departed in the fourth and got one final curtain call, turning over the affair to everyone else.
The real stars of the night were the AL’s sluggers, Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera, who helped stake the junior circuit to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The NL rallied to tie the game thanks to a pair of RBI doubles by Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy, but the AL came right back to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth off Pat Neshek.
The AL bullpen then shut things down after that, with Minnesota’s own Glen Perkins getting the save in his home ballpark. So the AL emerged victorious, securing home-field advantage for its league come late-October.
HITTING HIGHLIGHT: What a first inning for the top of the AL lineup. After Jeter’s leadoff double, Trout smoked a triple off the right-field wall. Cabrera then mashed a 2-run homer to left, putting the Americans up 3-0 real quick. And Trout was far from done. He drilled a line drive to left in his second at-bat, though it was caught. He then doubled in another run in the fifth to cap a big night for the Angels’ young superstar.
PITCHING LOWLIGHT: Mike Matheny wasn’t a real popular man all week outside of St. Louis, especially after selecting several of his own players (including middle reliever Neshek) for the squad and then naming Adam Wainwright the NL’s starter over Clayton Kershaw. So how did those moves work out? Not so well. Wainwright was roughed up for three runs in the bottom of the first, serving up a triple to Trout and a homer to Cabrera. Neshek, meanwhile, was charged with two runs allowed in the bottom of the fifth, giving up three straight hits before he was pulled in favor of the Nationals’ Tyler Clippard. So, if you weren’t keeping track, that was five runs allowed by Cardinals pitchers in 1 1/3 innings tonight.
NATS HIGHLIGHT: Say this for Clippard: He makes his All-Star appearances interesting. In 2011, he threw all of three pitches, gave up a hit, got a guy thrown out at the plate and wound up credited with the win. Tonight, he entered in a jam, with runners on second and third and one out in the bottom of the fifth. His second pitch to Jose Altuve sailed to the backstop, then ricocheted back to catcher Devin Mesoraco, who nearly threw out Alexei Ramirez at third base. Altuve then roped a ball to left field, though only deep enough to bring a run home via sac fly. Clippard then engaged in an 8-pitch battle with two-time AL MVP Cabrera, ultimately getting Miggy to fly out to center on a changeup. There was no NL rally in the top of the sixth, either, so alas, there was no vultured win for Clippard on this night, only an eventful two-thirds of an inning.
KEY STAT: The team that has held home-field advantage has won eight of the last 11 World Series, including five straight since 2009.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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