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One Mo’ Time: Rivera Sets Up AL Victory at All-Star Game in New York

An emotional Mariano Rivera takes the mound in the eighth inning of the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field. (Photo courtesy of Robert Deutsch, USA Today Sports)

If the Boston Red Sox reach the 2013 World Series, Game 1 will be played at Fenway Park. The American League won home field advantage in the Fall Classic with a 3-0 victory over the National League at Citi Field on Tuesday night. The low-scoring game was filled with good defense and better pitching, and a historic moment that will live on for generations.

The home crowd was able to watch Mets ace Matt Harvey start for the National League, as he pitched two effective innings while allowing a single hit (a double to leadoff hitter Mike Trout) while striking Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, and Adam Jones. The biggest storyline early on though was a 96-MPH fastball fired by Harvey that hit Yankees slugger Robinson Cano just above his right knee. Cano left the game soon after reaching first base, but fortunately for the injury-riddled Yankees, X-rays were negative and he is expected to be fine.

Back to the action, the American League scored one run in both the fourth and fifth innings, as Jose Bautista lifted a sacrifice fly and J.J. Hardy had an RBI groundout. Meanwhile, the NL was held to just one hit over the first six innings, as AL manager Jim Leyland used Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez, Matt Moore, and Grant Balfour, all of whom pitched at least one full inning.

The American League tacked on their third run in the top of the eighth inning when Jason Kipnis doubled deep to left field, scoring Salvador Perez. Fearing a National League rally would eliminate the possibility of a ninth inning save situation, Leyland went to Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning.

Rivera was greeted with an incredible standing ovation from fans and players on both sides, as the greatest closer to ever pitch stood alone on the field, owning the spotlight as he has since his first full year in 1996. He pitched with pinpoint control as always, and managed to retire the side on 16 pitches. In his Hall of Fame career, Rivera has now pitched 9.0 innings as an All-Star, not allowing a single earned run.

With Rivera pitching the eighth, Joe Nathan came in to close out the win as the American League won their first All-Star Game since 2009. Unfortunately, the Red Sox didn’t play too much of a role in the victory. Dustin Pedroia took over at second base after the injury to Cano, but went 0-2, as did teammate David Ortiz.

After the game, Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig named Mariano Rivera MVP of the game. A perfect ending to an absolutely perfect night in New York.

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