The American League defeated the National League 2–1 Tuesday night in the MLB All-Star Game at Marlins Park in Miami, the first time that the event was held in the state of Florida. The AL won in the 10th inning thanks to a home run by Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, who was later named MVP. This was the first time an All-Star Game had gone to extra innings since 2008. The AL has now won the last five, and the league is now an even 43-43-2 all-time versus the NL.
The 2002 game also went into extra innings. That year, both teams ran out of pitchers, which meant the game had to end in a tie. That controversial ending led to the decision that the winning team of the All-Star Game would hold home field advantage in the World Series.
That rule changed this year—the game no longer counted—and NL manager Joe Maddon was prepared. The Cubs’ skipper said he had Buster Posey and Justin Turner stick around in case they had to re-enter the game, and he still had three pitchers available going into extra innings. The game was tied at zero until the fifth inning, when Miguel Sano singled home Jonathan Schoop to give the AL a 1–0 lead.
One inning later, the NL tied the game when 34-year-old Yadier Molina homered, becoming the oldest catcher to go yard in an All-Star Game. Cano finally broke the tie in the 10th with his home run, which made him the front-runner for MVP.
Despite the lack of action on the field, there was a lot of activity when the game wasn’t in progress. Before the game began, eight Hall of Fame Latin American baseball players, including Roberto Clemente, Pedro Martinez, and Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez, were honored in a pregame ceremony. (Clemente's widow and children were there to represent him.) The players all threw out a first pitch to current Latin American players.
“It means a lot, because they opened the doors for the Latin American players,” Cano said when asked about the ceremony.
After the fifth inning, everyone was involved in a touching moment. The entire stadium, including the players, “stood up to cancer” by holding up a card that had the name of a cancer victim written on it.
With the game no longer determining home field advantage for the World Series, the players seemed to have more fun. One example was in the sixth inning, when Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz took a picture with home plate umpire Joe West. “I would bet if the game had counted, he would not have done that,” Maddon said.
Even though the game didn’t count, the teams were still battling for pride. When asked about Cano’s home run, AL manager and Indians bench coach Brad Mills said, “It was a Cubs pitcher; that was kind of nice.” Mills, of course, was referring to the 2016 World Series, which saw the Indians lose to the Cubs.
Even though the game was a low-scoring affair, the event itself still lived up to its billing. From standing up to cancer and the pre-game ceremony honoring the Latin American greats, to Nelson Cruz’s photo and Robinson Cano’s extra-inning home run, the 2017 Major League All-Star Game had many unforgettable moments.
Photographs by (from top) Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images; Andy Hayt/Getty Images