Alex Bregman, George Springer Power AL to 2018 MLB All-Star Game WinJuly 18, 2018
The best players in baseball played some long ball Tuesday.
The American League continued its recent dominance over the National League with a 8-6 victory in the 89th MLB All-Star Game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Junior Circuit hit five of the 10 total home runs in the contest, with two Houston Astros proving to be the difference in extra innings.
Alex Bregman and George Springer drilled back-to-back homers in the top of the 10th, answering the two-run blast off the bat of Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett that tied the contest in the ninth.
The win gave the American League a six-game winning streak and a 44-43-2 overall record at the annual event. It also pushed its record to a sparkling 18-3-1 in the last 22 contests.
Bregman and Springer played the role of extra-inning heroes, but Seattle Mariners shortstop Jean Segura put on a show as well. He drilled a three-run homer in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and scored the only run of the contest that didn't come on a long ball in the 10th after he reached base via single.
His three-run blast was only possible because Reds first baseman Joey Votto gave him new life by dropping a pop-up in foul territory near the dugout on the prior pitch. The argument can be made Segura deserved the game's MVP, but it went to Bregman for hitting the go-ahead homer.
As for Votto, he tried to make up for the gaffe with a solo homer in the bottom of the 10th, but the National League ran out of comeback juice when Toronto Blue Jays southpaw J.A. Happ closed the door.
Fans tuning in for fireworks got exactly what they were looking for, as ESPN Stats & Info noted Gennett's homer—which was the seventh of the evening—set the all-time record for dingers in an All-Star Game. Just for good measure, there were three more in the extra frame, pushing the grand total to double digits.
In one way it is a testament to the talent on the two pitching staffs that there weren't many baserunners, but the power in both lineups proved to be overwhelming throughout the contest.
As for a positive pitching angle, Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals made history as the starters.
According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Tuesday's contest marked the first time since 1940 the same two pitchers started two straight Midsummer Classics. What's more, Sale joined Robin Roberts and Lefty Gomez as the only three pitchers in baseball history to start three consecutive All-Star Games.
He was effective while making history, throwing a scoreless first and allowing just a single hit. He and Scherzer provided an early show with filthy sliders and fastballs with movement, but the Nationals righty gave up a foreshadowing homer to Aaron Judge to go with his four strikeouts.
The Home Run Derby was Monday, but Judge's drive set up a back-and-forth of power for the rest of the game. In all, Judge, Mike Trout, Segura, Bregman and Springer hit long balls for the American League, while Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Christian Yelich, Gennett and Votto went deep for the National League.
Some of the homers stood out more than others, as Trout's came off Jacob deGrom in a showdown between the majors' ERA leader and a once-in-a-generation talent.
The Los Angeles Angels center fielder is already a seven-time All-Star, two-time MVP and future Hall of Famer, and he further cemented his All-Star Game legacy that includes ridiculous numbers:
The National League didn't go away, tying the game with solo home runs from Contreras and Story. Contreras' homer came on the first pitch he ever saw in an All-Star Game, and it is not difficult to envision the 26-year-old starting at backstop for the Senior Circuit for years to come.
In fact, it was a historic drive for the Chicago Cubs catcher:
His team continued to use its power to battle back, as Yelich's homer came after Segura put the National League in a 5-2 hole, and Gennett's set up extra innings.
Much like the World Series, though, the Astros hitters made the difference against a Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. Ross Stripling gave up the long balls to Bregman and Springer, surely bringing up unwanted memories for Los Angeles fans in the process.
The National League will look to get back on track in enemy territory with next year's All-Star Game at Cleveland's Progressive Field.