By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
On Tuesday night, Citi Field held its largest crowd ever for the 84th MLB All-Star Game where the American League won a pitcher’s duel 3-0. It was nothing like All-Star Games of recent memory as the pitchers dominated the game throughout; the two star-studded lineups managed to combine for only 12 hits in the game. No player had multiple hits and only two walks were issued.
The game did not look to be heading in that direction at the start. Matt Harvey looked like he had pre-game jitters as he was over-throwing the ball to start. He surrendered a double to Mike Trout to lead off the game and then drilled Robinson Cano in the knee, putting the next two batters on. The Harvey Mets fans have become accustomed to seeing showed up the remainder of the night as he sandwiched strikeouts of Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista around a Chris Davis fly out. Harvey sat the AL down in order in the second inning, including a strikeout of Adam Jones.
There was not another baserunner for either team until the fourth inning when Cabrera hit a double off Patrick Corbin. After a Davis single moved Cabrera to third, Bautista brought him in with a sac fly. Corbin was able to stave off anymore damage by inducing a double-play from David Ortiz.
The NL was finally able to get their first runner on in the fourth inning thanks to a Carlos Beltran single. Andrew McCutchen entered the game as a pinch runner and subsequently stole second base. But he was stranded on second as Felix Hernandez got Joey Votto and David Wright to both ground out.
The AL would tack on another run in the fifth inning off Cliff Lee thanks to an RBI groundout by J.J. Hardy that knocked in Jones, who doubled to start the inning. Neither team was able to get any real threat going through the seventh inning after that as only two walks and a single by the hometown hero David Wright was the only offense.
Two hits to start the top of the eighth inning off of Craig Kimbrel had the makings of the first big offensive inning of the night. Kimbrel responded then by getting Torii Hunter to hit into a double play. He was unable to escape the inning unharmed though as Jason Kipnis hit a double to knock in Salvador Perez. Following that one of the greatest All-Star moments in recent memory occurred.
In his farewell All-Star appearance, Rivera was called into the game in the eighth inning. Not wanting to go the whole game with Rivera sitting in the bullpen, AL Manager Jim Leyland decided to go to him in the eighth in case something wacky happened. Rivera came to the field to a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Citi Field. The other All-Stars lined the dugouts as well to show their appreciation for the greatest closer of all-time. Only Rivera and Kansas City Royals’ catcher Salvador Perez were on the field while all of this was happening. Rivera just took it all in and looked to be on the verge of tears. Rivera used words such as beautiful, wonderful and amazing to describe the surreal moment. Rivera took home MVP honors as well and finished his illustrious career with no runs given up in nine All-Star Game appearances. He also became only the seventh pitcher in MLB history to take home MVP honors and the fourth to have both the All-Star Game and World Series MVPs on his resume.
After Rivera finished his work in 1, 2, 3 fashion, Prince Fielder led off the ninth inning with a triple. He was stranded there, but seeing the heavy-set Fielder run the bases was second only to Rivera coming into the game as things to see during the game.
Joe Nathan came in to close the game in the ninth inning and was able to close to door, allowing only a two-out double to Paul Goldschmidt. Nathan earned the save as Chris Sale got the win and Patrick Corbin was dealt the loss.
The win for the AL snapped a three-game winning streak for the NL. Could this be the start of another long winning streak for the AL? Before the NL took the last three, the AL had won the last 12 games that had a definitive outcome; 2002 was the infamous tied All-Star Game.