The Cincinnati Reds were well represented in the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field in Minnesota on Tuesday, but it was Mike Trout and the American League that will have home field advantage in the World Series after a 5-3 victory.
It was rough sledding for the two Cardinals pitchers, Adam Wainwright and Pat Neshek (0-1), as they were responsible for all five runs allowed by the NL. Eight other pitchers appeared for the senior circuit including Alfredo Simon and Aroldis Chapman. Simon allowed just one hit to Derek Jeter, who was appearing in his final All-Star Game, while Chapman retired both hitters he faced, including fellow Cuban, Yoenis Cespedes.
Jeter was met with a standing ovation before he stepped up to the plate in his 14th All-Star appearance during his 20 year career. He then doubled off Wainwright and easily scored on a triple by Trout. Trout could walk home as Miguel Cabrera, the man he's finished second to in the AL MVP vote two years in a row, homered to make it a 3-0 game.
The NL rallied in the second inning against John Lester as Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy each doubled in a run to cut the lead to 3-2. That lead was erased in the fourth inning when Lucroy doubled in Dee Gordon to tie the game at three. The fourth inning was also the last for Jeter, who was taken out for Alexi Ramirez to begin the fourth. Once again Jeter was greeted with a standing ovation and even did a curtain call before retiring to the dugout.
The fourth inning also marked the All-Star debut of Devin Mesoraco who came on in relief of Lucroy behind the plate. Mesoraco was catching for Neshek in the fifth when things went down hill. He allowed singles to Derek Norris and Ramirez before Trout struck again with an RBI double. Tyler Clippard came on to face easily the shortest player in all of baseball, Jose Altuve, who stands at 5-feet-5-inches. Altuve, who ranks second in the AL in average and first in stolen bases, hit a sac fly to score another run and make it 5-3.
Todd Frazier came on in the sixth inning and was challenged quickly on a ground ball from Cespedes, the man who beat him in the Home Run Derby, but was able to record the out. Frazier also fared better at the plate than Mesoraco. With a runner on second, Mesoraco struck out to end the sixth inning, but Frazier was able to draw a two out walk to put the tying run on base. Fernando Rodney would strike out Daniel Murphy to keep the score where it was at however.
In the eighth inning the NL showcased two of its best left handed relievers in Tony Watson and Chapman. Watson got a fly ball for out number one and then Chapman induced two ground ball outs to keep the lead at two. The lone Minnesota Twin, Glen Perkins, came on to do what he's done all season, close a game out at Target Field. That's just what he did when he retired Miguel Montero, Josh Harrison, and Charlie Blackmon in order.
Trout earned MVP honors as the AL has now won back-to-back games for the first time since 2009, when they won seven straight Mid-Summer Classics. Johnny Cueto, as expected, was the only Red to not appear. Cueto was not eligible after pitching on Sunday against Pittsburgh.
The All-Star Game will shift it's focus to Great American Ballpark for the 2015 showdown. As for the Reds (51-44), they'll hit the road for a six-game trip that starts Friday against Jeter and the New York Yankees (47-47), and ends in a showdown with first place Milwaukee (53-43).