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The American League did it again, winning their twelfth All-Star game since 1996 in a record 2-hour, 31-minute game by a score of 4-3.
Tim Lincecum started the game for the National League but found himself quickly in trouble as the AL squad was able to rack up two runs, one a result of an error by Albert Pujols at first and the other on grounder hit by Josh Hamilton.
The lead didn’t hold for long, as the National League took advantage of Roy Halladay to make the score 3-2 in their favor. Yadier Molina scored two runs, and an RBI by Prince Fielder, winner of the Home Run Derby on Monday, put up the third run on the board.
A double by Joe Mauer in the fourth inning tied the game, which continued to hold into the eighth, as both teams showcased a kind of pitching duel that is almost expected from the best players in the league.
A sacrifice fly by Adam Jones in the eighth determined the final, an American League win of 4-3. It was the second straight time that the American League won the All-Star game due to a sac fly. But, if it wasn’t for some other spectacular performances earlier in the night, the game might have gone to the National League, or at least into extra innings.
With Jonathan Papelbon pitching in the seventh inning, Carl Crawford made an amazing catch way out in center field, a catch which absolutely stole a National League home run (off the bat of Brad Hawpe) and kept them from taking the lead. It was the kind of catch that makes kids want to be heroes playing baseball, and therefore it was no surprise when Crawford was named MVP at the end of the game.
Crawford may have saved that one run for both the American League and Papelbon, but Papelbon survived the rest of the inning, throwing 10 pitches with seven for strikes and coming home with the win. As for the other members of the Red Sox in attendance at the All-Star game? Both Jason Bay and Kevin Youkilis singled, but Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield did not get a chance to take the mound.
Oh, but for all the hype there was regarding Wakefield, who was long overdue for his chance to play in the All-Star game. Manager Joe Madden wanted to save Wakefield for extra innings, which looked like a possibility before the eighth but turned out to be unnecessary. A little disappointing no doubt, but at least he got to teach President Obama how to throw a knuckleball…
Instead, Mariano Rivera was the closer for the ninth inning and earned the save, his fourth in an All-Star game. It ended as the shortest All-Star game since 1988. Now if only we had gotten to see Beckett and Wakefield prove why they deserved to be in the All-Star game, well, it might have made the game a little more exciting for the Red Sox fans.
W: Jonathan Papelbon
L: Heath Bell
S: Mariano Rivera