Alex Hider and Chris Slone
CINCINNATI — Aside from an Andrew McCutchen’s solo shot in the sixth, the National League found hits, much less runs, hard to come by as the American League won the 86th annual All-Star game 6-3 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Mike Trout got things rolling for the American League with a solo shot in the first inning and never looked back as the Los Angeles Angel was named MVP — first player ever to win back-to-back MVP awards.
Dallas Keuchel quieted the NL bats early, pitching two innings, only allowing one unearned run on two hits. After Keuchel’s exit, the AL continued to march out over-powering arms.
“I had a lot of nerves,” Kuechel said of his first All-Star appearance. “I never expected (to start), so when Mr. Yost told me I was starting it was a multitude of emotions.”
Kuechel was able to put the nerves behind him to throw two solid innings of two-hit ball.
Trout started the game with a bang, lining a 1-2 pitch just over the right field wall for a leadoff homer. It was just the sixth leadoff homer in All-Star game history, and the first player to achieve the feat since Bo Jackson did it in 1989.
Trout said that before his homer, he got some advice from veteran teammate Albert Pujols.
“He definitely told me to go deep,” Trout said.
Despite allowing the lead-off homer, National League starter Zach Greinke had a strong performance over his two innings of work, striking out four batters while only allowing the one hit.
The National League erased Greinke’s lone mistake on a Jhonny Peralta RBI single in the third. However, the American League regained the lead for the final time in the top of the fifth inning when Texas Rangers’ designated hitter Prince Fielder and Kansas City Royals’ right fielder Lorenzo Cain came up with back-to-back hits off Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw. The hits scored an Angle pair of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, which gave the AL a 3-1 lead.
McCutchen put the Senior Circuit back in the thick of things with a solo blast in the sixth but the American League quickly got the run back. Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado hit an RBI double, then crossed home on a sacrifice by Fielder, which gave the AL a 5-2 lead.
Minnesota Twins’ second baseman Brian Dozier added a long ball in the eighth for good measure, giving the AL a 6-2 advantage.
The National League scored a run in the bottom of the ninth on a Brandon Crawford sacrifice fly, which allowed Ryan Braun to score after leading the inning off with a triple down the right-field line.
Launching the missile Reds fireballer Aroldis Chapman got the call for the National League in the top of the ninth inning. Though he didn’t find himself in a save situation, he struck out all three batters he faced and regularly touched 103 mph on the radar gun.
“I’m happy I threw tonight and I had the chance to show the fans and everyone else the way I pitch,” Chapman said through a translator. “In this type of game, you’re going to have a little more energy. Yes, I had a little bit more energy than I was used to.”
Back to Earth Todd Frazier may have been a bit hungover after his emotional Home Run Derby win on Monday evening. The lone Reds’ starter grounded out in all three of his at bats in Tuesday’s game.
“Just a little tired,” he said. “It’s the best pitching in the world. So not everybody’s Mike Trout. It’s tough to do.”
A Rose-y Feeling Pete Rose’s long-awaited on-field appearance finally took play Tuesday evening.Rose’s participation — which came with the blessing of the MLB — came as part of the MLB’s unveiling of each team’s “Franchise Four” best players. Rose joined Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin on the pitchers mound and received an extended standing ovation.
“It was special to see those guys out there,” Frazier said. “It was great to see those guys and the ovation they got.”
Later, Bench was also named as one of the four greatest living players of all time, along with Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Hank Aaron. Bench then caught a ceremonial first pitch from Koufax.
People don’t forget All five Cardinals players received boos from the arch-rival Cincinnati crowd, but the loudest jeers came for catcher Yadier Molina. However, Molina took it in stride, breaking a big smile and pointing to the back of his jersey.
Molina and Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips were famously the center of a 2010 late-season brawl.
Not in the books Trout’s homer was the first run that Greinke had allowed since June 18. His scoreless streak will remain intact the next time he takes the mound.
Web Gem Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu made the defensive stop of the night in the second inning with a ranging stop to rob Jose Altuve of a base hit.
Young Guns Tuesday’s game featured 20 players 25 or younger, the most ever for an All-Star Game.
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter. Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.