|Date of game: 7/16/2013
Recap: MLB-National vs. MLB-American
Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - Mariano Rivera and the rest of the American League pitching staff hung a three-hit shutout on the National League in a brisk 3-0 victory in the 84th edition of the All-Star Game.
The crowd at Citi Field sat through a pitchers' duel Tuesday, with six AL hurlers making perfect appearances, including Rivera, who tossed a flawless eighth inning in his 13th and final Midsummer Classic.
For his efforts, the 43-year-old Rivera became the oldest player and first reliever to win the outright MVP award and first pitcher to do so since Pedro Martinez in 1999.
"I think that the only one that will top this is the World Series. Besides that, I mean, it has been outstanding," Rivera said. "Especially when you are not expecting this. I wanted to pitch. I wanted to come to the game and since this will be my last one, I wanted to enjoy and be able to pitch for the last time in the All-Star Game. The rest was indescribable. I can't describe it."
White Sox left-hander Chris Sale breezed through two frames to earn the win, while Jason Kipnis, Jose Bautista and J.J. Hardy each contributed an RBI in the victory.
The outcome ended the NL's three-game winning streak, gave the Junior Circuit home-field advantage for the World Series and marked the first time the Senior Circuit had been shut out since 1990.
Arizona's Patrick Corbin, one of a record 39 first-time participants, gave up a run in the fourth inning to take the loss behind Matt Harvey, who got the starting nod in front of the hometown Mets fans.
Harvey, the youngest All-Star starter since Dwight Gooden opened the 1988 game at 23, showed some early jitters when he gave up a leadoff double to Mike Trout and plunked Robinson Cano just above his right knee with a 96 m.p.h. fastball.
Cano gingerly walked off the field under his own power after trying to shake off the right quad contusion, then showed he was in good spirits by giving Harvey a wink on his way to the dugout.
"I didn't want to aggravate it," Cano said after verifying X-rays on his knee were negative. "You just want to be out of the game and put it on ice the next two days. ... You don't want to make that worse."
The 24-year-old Harvey settled down from there, retiring Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis and Bautista to escape unscathed.
"I knew that I had to make good pitches, and obviously throwing to the best catcher in the game (Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina), it makes it a lot easier just to trust him and go with what he calls," said Harvey, who was lifted after a seamless second frame.
Max Scherzer started for the AL in his first All-Star appearance following a 13-1 start with the Tigers and set down Brandon Phillips, Carlos Beltran and Joey Votto in his only inning of work.
The AL broke the scoreless tie in the fourth when Cabrera lined a one-hopper off the wall in right-center, moved to third on Davis' single off the glove of Votto and scored on Bautista's sacrifice fly to center. The run ended the AL's 17-inning drought dating back to the fourth inning of the 2011 All-Star Game.
Beltran singled with one out in the bottom of the fourth for the NL's first baserunner, but Seattle's Felix Hernandez got out of the inning with a pair of groundouts, the last one coming off the bat of hometown favorite David Wright.
The AL had a similar start to the fifth as it did the fourth, as Adam Jones greeted Cliff Lee with a double and Joe Mauer hit a ground ball into the hole on the left side that deflected off Troy Tulowitzki's backhand.
Hardy's fielder's choice grounder plated Jones, and his Orioles teammate, Manny Machado, made the defensive play of the game to open the seventh inning. The 21-year-old third baseman was handcuffed by Paul Goldschmidt's chopper down the line, fielded it cleanly and threw a bullet to Prince Fielder at first base to get Goldschmidt by a step. The play was critical considering Wright followed with a base hit to left.
Brett Cecil replaced Greg Holland with Wright on first and struck out the only hitter he faced, Domonic Brown, before his Blue Jays teammate and Final Vote winner, Steve Delabar, fanned Buster Posey to get out of the inning.
Kipnis doubled over the head of Brown in left field to bring in Salvador Perez in the eighth, and the future Hall-of-Famer Rivera strode in out of the bullpen to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" in the bottom half.
"I said to the players before the game, I said 'I'm not a motivational speaker but my motivation for tonight is to work our fannies off and bring in the greatest closer in of all time.' I did lie, for one inning; for obvious reasons, I think you all understand that if something freaky would have happened in the lead to score some runs and take the lead, there possibly wouldn't have been -- in the ninth, so that's why I did it," AL manager Jim Leyland said of his reason to put Rivera into the game in the eighth inning.
After acknowledging the standing ovation given by the crowd and players from both sides, the Yankees great did what he does best, retired three straight hitters -- Jean Segura, Allen Craig and Carlos Gomez -- to maintain the AL's 3-0 lead.
"Thank you New York. It's been a privilege. You guys almost made me cry," Rivera said during the on-field ceremony of his MVP award.
Gomez misplayed Fielder's sinking line drive into a triple leading off the ninth, but Jason Grilli wiggled out of the jam and kept the NL within three runs heading to its final at-bat.
Nevertheless, Joe Nathan struck out Matt Carpenter and Andrew McCutchen, then gave up a double to Goldschmidt before retiring Pedro Alvarez on a pop up to record his first save in an All-Star Game and capped back-to-back shutouts for the first time in Midsummer Classic history.
"That's a good lineup we threw out there, a lot of great hitters. Give them credit, they pitched well and they shut us down. They played well, pitched well, and we just couldn't mount any offense," NL manager Bruce Bochy said.
The NL won last year's game, 8-0.Game Notes
The only other time the Mets hosted an All-Star Game was 1964 at Shea Stadium
... Harvey was the first pitcher to start the All-Star Game in his home park
since Roger Clemens for Houston in 2004 ... Scherzer was the second straight
Tigers pitcher to start the All-Star Game, following Justin Verlander last
year. The previous AL team to have back-to-back All-Star starting pitchers was
Oakland with Dave Stewart in 1989 and Bob Welch in 1990 ... The AL had managed
just three total runs the previous three games ... Tampa Bay's Matt Moore, who
along with Scherzer leads the league with 13 wins, as well as Oakland's Grant
Balfour also tossed an inning of relief for the AL ... Michael Cuddyer worked
a four-pitch walk in the sixth for the NL's only other baserunner other than
the three hits ... Jose Fernandez, the flame-throwing 20-year-old from the
Miami Marlins and the lone rookie to reach the All-Star Game, tossed a 1-2-3
sixth and struck out a pair for the NL ... Mets great Tom Seaver threw out the
ceremonial first pitch ... Next year's All-Star Game will be played at Target
Field in Minnesota ... The NL still leads the all-time series, 43-39-2.