Dan's Dugout: All-Stars Battle Wind, Rain, Fastballs • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: All-Stars Battle Wind, Rain, Fastballs

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WASHINGTON – Despite an afternoon monsoon, followed by a groundswell of Manny Machado trade rumors, the 89th All-Star Game actually started on time Tuesday night.

By the time it ended 10 innings later, the American League had hit five home runs and collected 13 hits to win their sixth straight Midsummer Classic, 8-6.

Before the game even started, there was considerable concern about the weather, since storms forced a one-day postponement in the All-Star Game in 1969, the last time it was scheduled for the nation’s capital.

All eyes were on Manny Machado at the All-Star Game Tuesday night

There was also concern about Machado, the talented Baltimore Orioles shortstop whose contract expires after this season.

USA TODAY reported Tuesday that the Los Angeles Dodgers won the Machado sweepstakes but teams were unable to confirm because of a gag rule that mutes normal baseball talk until the All-Star festivities are finished.

That means Machado’s appearance in the All-Star Game was probably his last in a Baltimore uniform. But that’s more hearsay than official news.

One thing’s for sure: Chris Sale and Max Scherzer will be back. The two strikeout artists squared off as starting pitchers for the second straight Midsummer Classic. It was Sale’s third in a row, tying a record shared by Hall of Famers Robin Roberts and Lefty Gomez.

Aaron Judge hit a solo home run to score the first run of the game.
Credit: Daniel Budasoff

The American League drew first blood in the game when Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit a leadoff home run against Scherzer in the second inning. The AL lead doubled in the third when Mike Trout connected with two outs and nobody on base against NL reliever Jacob deGrom.

The battle of home runs continued in the bottom of the third when Cubs catcher Willson Contreras homered on the first pitch thrown by Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell, a last-minute addition to the AL roster.

Then Trevor Story smacked one, also with the bases clear, against Charlie Morton with one out in the seventh.

The AL finally took command in the eighth when Jean Segura of the Seattle Mariners, given new life after Joey Votto dropped a foul pop-up, smacked a one-out, three-run homer that put the visitors up, 5-2. The victim was hard-throwing Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader.

The battle of the long balls continued in the home half of the eighth, when Christian Yelich homered to deep left center. The American League couldn’t keep that 5-3 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett followed a J.T. Realmuto walk with a long home run against Edwin Diaz to tie the game.

The deadlock didn’t last. Consecutive leadoff home runs from Houston Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer gave the AL a 7-5 lead and another run scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Brantley.

Votto led off the home 10th with a solo shot but that was the last hurrah for the National Leaguers. Diaz was the winning pitcher, Ross Stripling the loser, and J.A. Happ got a shaky save.

It seemed the real Home Run Derby was the actual game itself, with five home runs in the last three innings. The hot, sticky air helped balls travel well.

Trout’s home run put him in elite company. It was the sixth straight year he hit safely in an All-Star Game, tying a mark held by Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Joe Morgan. He hit homered in All-Star play twice before.

Bryce Harper, Scherzer’s Washington teammate, drew the loudest applause from the sellout crowd in pre-game introductions.

Bryce Harper got the most pre-game cheers from the Washington crowd but fanned in his first two at-bats.

The win gave the American League a 44-43 lead in the inter-league exhibition series, which began in 1933. There were two ties and one cancellation (1945 wartime travel restrictions).

The Senior Circuit has not won since 2012.

Next year’s game will be played in Cleveland, with Dodger Stadium on deck for 2020.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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