The 93rd midsummer classic was played on Tuesday night on a beautiful Seattle evening. It had everything that fans could ever want. It was a well played game won by the National League. 3-2. It was the first time the NL has won this game since 2012 and only the fourth win for that side since 1997. It was a great game overall and the players made sure to keep it interesting with superb defensive plays and timely hitting. One of the big stories heading into the game was the Texas Rangers. The Rangers had four players elected to start in the game and then Adolis Garcia was named as a replacement starter for Aaron Judge. It is the most players this organziation has started in an All-Star game and the most they have sent to this game since 2012.
Texas Rangers make history
The Rangers did send five players out to the field in the first inning. In the second manager Dusty Baker decided to bring in Nathan Eovaldi. In the top of the second inning six of the nine players on the field were Texas Rangers. There has not been that many players from one team on the field in this game since the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News made note of that on Twitter and pointed out who the six Dodgers were in that game.
Now the Rangers with pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, catcher Jonah Heim, second baseman Marcus Semien, shortstop Corey Seager, third baseman Josh Jung, and right fielder Adolis Garcia will put their names in the history books. As a long time fan it just was awe inspiring to see that many Rangers on the field at one time. I think fans need to really take a moment and cherish this memory of this picture featured on the broadcast Tuesday night.
The second inning came and went and that was it for Nathan Eovaldi. Seager played the field in the third and then was removed. Seager went 0-1 and Eovaldi pitched around two hits allowed and did not give up a run. Yandy Diaz then came up in the bottom of the second and hit a solo shot to left field that put the American League up 1-0.
Luis Arraez makes his mark on the game
Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez came into the game with a league-high .383 batting average and has been flirting with a .400 batting average through much of the first half. He used the All-Star game to show that his brand of baseball can still work in this modern game. Arraez does not hit for the most power or have the highest exit velocity. What he does is make contact and puts the ball in places where the defender cannot get to it. He did that twice on Tuesday night.
Arraez in the second inning laced a single to center that moved J.D. Martinez to second. He then came up again in the fourth inning. Martinez hit a double to lead off the inning. Arraez came up with one out and smashed a single to right field that got past Semien and scored Martinez to tie the game. Arraez one at bat at a time is showing that it is cool to just make contact and have great hand-eye coordination.
The end of the night for the Rangers
Corey Seager was removed after one at-bat, all the other Rangers in the lineup ended up getting two at-bats. Garcia, Jung, Semien, and Heim were each 0-2 in the game. Not too encouraging considering that the team came into the break in the midst of a slide. They are facing the best pitchers in the National League.
The end of the night for Texas though was not the end of the game. The American League reserves facing Alexis Diaz of the Cincinnati Reds put together a couple of hits. It was a single from Salvador Perez and a ground-rule double from the A's lone representative Brent Rooker. Then Bo Bichette hit a sac fly to score Perez and give the American League the lead 2-1.
National League Rallies Late
The American League got through the seventh and still had a 2-1 lead. It appeared with manager Dusty Baker having his closing options with Felix Bautista and Kenley Jansen lined up that the American League was poised to win their 10th consecutive All-Star game. Bautista has 23 saves for the Orioles and a 1.07 ERA. He did give up three home runs in the first half. Baker went to Bautista first in the eighth.
The inning started off with Bautista walking Nick Castellanos and then a wild pitch allowed him to take second. Elias Diaz, catcher for the Colorado Rockies, was at the plate. Diaz took the count to 2-2 and then he did this.
Diaz sent it deep and gave the National League a lead that they would not relinquish.According to Mark Feisand of MLB.com Diaz's home run is the first time a National League player has hit a home run in the eighth inning or later to give the NL the lead since Jeff Conine did that in 1995. That home run not only gave the NL the lead it gave Diaz the All-Star game MVP award.
There was a great moment in the ninth. Craig Kimbrel was brought in to close the game. He walked Kyle Tucker to bring home town favorite Julio Rodriguez to the plate with a chance to tie or give the AL the lead. The crowd got loud, starting chanting JULIO! JULIO!. Rodriguez took the count full and then walked. That led to Jose Ramirez coming up and striking out to end the game.
It was a fun game to watch from beginning to end and it just is too bad that the American League had their long winning streak snapped. Now it is on to the second half, the trade deadline, and a hopeful pennant race for the Rangers. I also made this note on Twitter last night about the last time the NL won this game and what ended up happening after the All-Star break.
Just keep this in mind as we get ready for action to resume on Friday night back in Arlington. The next time the baseball world gathers for the midsummer classic it will be in Arlington. I can't wait for next summer's festivities.