The National League’s nightmare is finally over.
The NL snapped a nine-game losing skid in the Midsummer Classic with a 3-2 win over the American League All-Stars.
The National League narrowly missed an opportunity in the top of the seventh inning but wouldn’t let one go to waste in the eighth – Colorado Rockies catcher Elias Diaz blasted a towering two-run home run off Baltimore Orioles’ Felix Bautista to give the National League a 3-2 lead.
Craig Kimbrel of the Philadelphia Phillies‘ closer was called on by his own manager in Rob Thomson in the bottom of the ninth, but it got sweaty. He allowed back-to-back two-out walks, including one to hometown favorite in Julio Rodriguez as the winning run, and up came Cleveland Guardians‘ Jose Ramirez. But Kimbrel got Ramirez swinging on a high fastball to end the game.
Diaz was named the game’s MVP.
Tampa Bay Rays’ Yandy Diaz opened up the scoring with a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates’ Mitch Keller, but the NL got on the board with none other than Miami Marlins’ Luis Arraez’s RBI single off hometown favorite George Kirby that tied the game in the fourth. Arraez earned two hits, showing the world why he’s in a race to MLB’s first .400 average since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. He and Los Angeles Dodgers’ J.D. Martinez were the only players were multiple hits.
Bo Bichette of the Toronto Blue Jays gave the American League a 2-1 lead with a sacrifice fly off Cincinnati Reds’ Alexis Diaz that scored Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez in the bottom of the sixth inning.
New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole started the game for the AL, and with the benefit of leaping catches by Texas Rangers’ Adolis Garcia and Randy Arozarena of the Rays, he retired the side in order. Arizona Diamondbacks’ Zac Gallen got the nod for the NL and allowed a hit in his scoreless frame.
At one point, the NL’s entire infield, minus the pitcher, was filled with Atlanta Braves – with Sean Murphy behind the plate, Austin Riley, Orlando Arcia, Ozzie Albies, and Matt Olson rounded out the infield from left to right in the fifth inning.
In the sixth, Blue Jays reliever Jordan Romano left the game after being looked at by trainers due to back tightness, which Dusty Baker said was precautionary. Baker headed the American League roster as the defending AL (and World Series) champion with the Houston Astros opposite of Thomson, whose Phillies earned the NL pennant last year.
In front of their own home crowd, Kirby had the aforementioned one run allowed in his inning of work, and Rodriguez went 0-for-1 with a walk. Luis Castillo did not pitch despite his third All-Star nod.
The Seattle faithful also let it be known they really want Shohei Ohtani to head north when he hits free agency. In both of his plate appearances, they chanted “Come to Seattle.” Ohtani is set to be a free agent at season’s end, and could become not just the first $500 million player, but even break the bank with a $600 million deal.
It’s just the National League’s seventh victory in the Midsummer Classic since 1988 – they were 6-27-1 in the previous 34 All-Star Games entering Tuesday last victory came way back in 2012 (there was no game in 2020).
The 2024 All-Star Game will be held at Globe Life Field, the home of the Rangers.