Tuesday night, July 12, the powerful All-Star bats of the American League (AL) triumphed over the National League (NL) 4-2 at the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game at PETCO Park in San Diego, California. The annual "Midsummer Classic" features the best MLB players and determines which league will have home field advantage in that year's World Series.
The NL jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant homered off the AL starting pitcher and crosstown rival, Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox. The AL quickly rallied in the second, however, as Kansas City Royals teammates Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez each hit home runs off NL starter Johnny Cueto of the San Francisco Giants for a 3-1 lead. Hosmer drilled a run-scoring single in the third inning, as well, and the NL added a run in the fourth, but the pitching took over after that and no more All-Stars crossed home plate. The only hold-your-breath moment came in the eighth when the NL loaded the bases with two outs. Houston Astros closer Will Harris fanned St. Louis Cardinals rookie Aledmys Diaz on a 3-2 pitch to end the NL threat. Hosmer was named the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player.
Much fanfare surrounded the final All-Star Game of Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who has announced he will retire at season's end. Ortiz is having a superb season, capping a career that began in 1997 with the Minnesota Twins but really took off once he reached Boston in 2003. Ortiz has over 500 career home runs and 1,700 runs batted in--stats that get most players into the Hall of Fame. Ortiz started the All-Star Game at designated hitter and left for a pinch-runner in the third inning after drawing a walk.
In other All-Star festivities, Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton pounded a record 61 home runs to win the Home Run Derby on Monday. On Sunday, the best of Minor League Baseball squared off in the All-Star Futures Game. The World Team downed the United States side 11-3.
The first MLB All-Star Game was played on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park on Chicago's south side. That first game, which featured legendary players Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth, and other Hall of Famers, was expected to be a one-time event and was thus called the "Game of the Century." The AL beat the NL 4-2 in that game, too.
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