Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout led off with a homer and scored two runs in a 6-3 American League win in last night’s MLB All-Star Game at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. The win gives the AL home-field advantage in the World Series.
Trout’s leadoff blast off of cross-town rival and NL starter Zach Greinke was the first such round-tripper since 1989, when Bo Jackson hit a leadoff bomb for Kansas City. It also helped earn him MVP honors for the second straight year. He joins greats Gary Carter, Steve Garvey, Willie Mays, and Cal Ripken Jr. as the only men to win the award twice.
The NL had knotted the game at one in the second when Goldschmidt singled and took second on an errant throw by Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson. A Buster Posey groundout moved him to third, putting him in excellent position to score on a base hit by St. Louis’ Jhonny Peralta.
A single by Alcides Escobar, followed by a Trout fielder’s choice and an Albert Pujols walk, put two on with one out against Clayton Kershaw when the American League came to bat in the fifth. Fielder singled, and Lorenzo Cain doubled, and just like that, the AL was up by two.
The AL took a 3-1 lead into the sixth inning when the National League looked to make it interesting.
Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen led off the sixth with a home run off of Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer, cutting the lead to just one. After two outs were made, a throwing error by Baltimore reliever Zach Britton put Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt on first. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina then moved Goldschmidt to second with a single.
But the Senior Circuit’s threat was not to last. Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
In the seventh inning, the American League put the game away. Trout walked and was replaced by Boston’s Brock Holt, who promptly stole second. Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado then crushed a double off Milwaukee’s Francisco Rodriguez and Holt scored easily, extending the AL lead to 4-2. After moving to third, Machado scored on a sacrifice fly by Texas’ Prince Fielder.
The final homer of the night came in the top of the eighth, when Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier went yard off of Pittsburgh’s Mark Melancon. In the ninth, after some drama ignited by a Ryan Braun triple and Brandon Crawford sac fly, the Twins’ Glen Perkins was able to retire the side and finish off the All-Star Game for a second consecutive year.
The winning pitcher for the AL was Detroit’s David Price, who hurled a perfect inning before his team’s outburst in the fifth. Kershaw was the loser after giving up two earned runs in that same frame.
Jacob deGrom of the Mets and Aroldis Chapman of the Reds turned in brief but stellar performances for the losing side.
deGrom struck out Stephen Vogt (Oakland), Jason Kipnis (Cleveland), and Jose Iglesias (Detroit) in the span of just 10 pitches in the sixth. Chapman, meanwhile, wowed the home crowd in the top of the ninth with three strikeouts of his own, with several pitches topping 100 miles per hour.
The Reds’ other player, Home Run Derby champ Todd Frazier, went 0 for 3.
The only multi-hit game came off the bat of Cain, who singled and doubled. All in all, the four Kansas City position players who saw action went a combined 3 for 7, while the three players from the team that beat them in the World Series, the San Francisco Giants, were 0 for 5.
Tuesday’s result guarantees that if there is a Game 7 in this year’s Fall Classic, it will once again be in the AL champ’s park.
Next year’s All-Star Game is being hosted by the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park. Justin Upton, the only Padre present, singled and stole second in the eighth.
Photos: Rob Carr/Getty Images (Trout), Joe Robbins/Getty Images (deGrom)