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Cano, Molina Steal The Show at ASG

Tuesday, for the 88th time, Major League Baseball held the All-Star Game. With The Veterans Stepping Up Huge, This Midsummer Classic Did Not Disappoint.

In one of sports oldest traditions, baseballs greatest players come together for one game. A fan favorite of the summer, the MLB All-Star game has featured some of the greatest names in the history of the league. Hank Aaron. Cal Ripkin. Carl Yastrzemski. Willie Mays. Ted Williams. Mickey Mantle. Hall of Fame players who all played in 16+ All-Star Games .

First timers like New York’s Aaron Judge, Tampa Bay’s Corey Dickerson, Los Angeles’ Justin Turner, and 25 others have their hearts set on joining those former greats at the top of the list. On the other side, St. Louis’ Yadier Molina and Seattle’s Robinson Cano, both reserves, were selected for the eighth time in their careers.

With this year’s game being held Miami at Marlins Park, Washington’s Bryce Harper paid homage to beloved Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who passed in a tragic accident last September…

Changes In The Game

For the first time in a long time, the MLB All-Star Game no longer counts. For anything. During Bud Selig’s reign as Commissioner, the winning league of the All-Star Game took home-field advantage for the World Series. With Selig two-years removed, the rule has since been done away with. Now the All-Star Game is just that; a game. A game featuring the best in the league, just having fun.

Pitchers Making History

Two men who certainly have the talent to succeed in that goal, Boston’s Chris Sale (6) and Washington’s Max Scherzer(5), were selected by their respective league managers to start Tuesday’s game. Sale, who leads MLB in strikeouts with 178, becomes the first pitcher to start consecutive All-Star games representing different teams. Scherzer, making consecutive starts as well, becomes only the fifth pitcher to start an All-Star game for both leagues.

Scherzer took the mound first, and probably the most anticipated matchup of the game came in just the third at-bat. Home Run Derby champion from the night before, Judge stepped up to the plate with a smile on his face. And Scherzer sat him down on strikes with six pitches. But that did not wipe the smile from Judge’s face, because he realized just how exciting the moment really was. Scherzer would strike out Houston’s George Springer to end the inning and his start, giving up just one hit over 15 pitches.

Not to be out done, Sale struck out Miami’s hometown hero Giancarlo Stanton, who made his fourth All-Star appearance. Allowing only a single to Harper in the first, Sale would give up back-to-back singles in the second. Unphased, and with the help of a double play, Sale would get out of the jam and leave the N.L. scoreless. Sale would finish with 2.o innings, 28 pitches, allowing three hits and striking out two.

Low Scoring And Fast Paced

When you have the best players in the league, it is not surprising that not a lot of scoring occurs. You have some of the best hitters, but at the same time lock down pitchers and fielders that make web gems regularly. Like this one early on from Harper, that showed why he was in his fifth All-Star Game.

Tuesday’s game saw zeros on both sides until the top of the fifth, when Minnesota’s Miguel Sano hit and RBI single that brought Baltimore’s Jonathon Schoop home.

But when it’s the All-Star Game, big things are going to happen. That held true as Molina, the most veteran player on the N.L. squad, hit a solo home run in the sixth to tie things up. With the homer, Molina is 5-for-8 in All-Star at-bats lifetime.

That is how the game stayed for the rest of regulation. For the 12th time in the storied history of this competition, the game went into extra innings. And it did not take long for some action.

On the third pitch of the 10th, Cano took the Cub’s Wade Davis over the right field wall to take the lead. Cano, who moves to 2-for-9 lifetime in the All-Star Game, was also appearing in his eighth midsummer classic…just like Molina.

AL Wins 5th Straight

Cleveland’s Andrew Miller came in for the bottom half and aside from allowing a walk, managed to close out the game in three hours and 16 minutes. The win brings the all-time series to a tie at 43-43-2. Boston’s Craig Kimbrel took the win for his work in the ninth, while Davis suffered the loss.

All totaled, this years game saw 18 total pitchers, allow 17 total hits, 23 total strikeouts, and six walks (five of which were given up by the A.L.), to a total of 39 different batters.

Deserving enough, Cano took home the MVP award for the game, becoming the first Mariner since Ichiro Suzuki in 2007 to do so.

Congrats to all the All-Stars from both squads. All teams enjoy a couple days off before the second half kicks off Friday.

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