2017 MLB All-Star Game: 13 things to know about the AL's extra innings win

 MIAMI -- It took a little longer than expected, but the American League has once again claimed league superiority with an All-Star Game win.

Tuesday night at Marlins Park, the AL defeated the NL (AL 2, NL 1) in 10 innings in the 88th annual All-Star Game. This was the first All-Star Game to go to extra innings since 2008 and the 11th to go to extra innings overall. The AL has now won each of the last five All-Star Games.

Here are 13 things to know about the 2017 All-Star Game.

Latin American legends were honored before All-Star Game

Prior to the start of the All-Star Game, Latin American baseball legends were honored during an on-field ceremony. Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez, Tony Perez, and Ivan Rodriguez were all in attendance -- Rodriguez, who was part of the 2003 World Series champion Miami Marlins , received a huge ovation -- and the late Hall of Famer Robert Clemente was represented by his wife Vera Clemente.

Here's video of the very excellent pregame ceremony:

Well done, Marlins and MLB.

Scherzer was loud and proud

Max Scherzer , the starting pitcher for the NL, is a different animal. He's a very intense competitor, even in a low key and essentially meaningless game like the All-Star Game. He was letting out very loud grunts during his inning of work. Listen to this:

Grunting has been in Scherzer's repertoire for years now, so what we saw heard at the All-Star Game was not new. The strategically placed field mics did bring us closer to the grunting than ever before though.

Scherzer struck out two in his scoreless inning.

Sale was really letting it go too

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale struck out two in two innings of work, and among his 28 pitches was a 99.8 mph fastball, per Trackman. That is the fastest pitch Sale has thrown in any game since way back in 2010, when he hit 100.1 mph with a fastball. Sale was a reliever that year. Here are his fastest pitches by season:

  • 2017: 99.2 mph regular season and 99.8 mph in the All-Star Game
  • 2016: 99.3 mph
  • 2015: 99.4 mph
  • 2014: 98.6 mph
  • 2013: 98.9 mph
  • 2012: 98.6 mph
  • 2011: 99.2 mph
  • 2010: 100.1 mph (as reliever)

Obviously adrenaline played a part in Sale throwing his fastest pitch in seven years Tuesday night. He was really cutting it loose, especially in the first inning.

Harper's glorious hair was on full display

In the second inning Bryce Harper made a fantastic diving catch to rob Salvador Perez of a base hit. Check it out:

The catch was great. The hair flip was better.

Ohio snapped out of its slump

A pair of first time All-Stars came through for the state of Ohio in the All-Star Game. First, Jose Ramirez rapped singles to right field in his first two at-bats, plus he stole a base. He's the first Cleveland Indians player with multiple hits in the All-Star Game in more than two decades.

An inning after Ramirez's second single and stolen base, Zack Cozart became the first Cincinnati Reds player to record a hit in the Midsummer Classic in seven years.

The last Red with a hit in the All-Star Game? Scott Rolen ! Didn't see that coming. I figured Joey Votto or Brandon Phillips . Maybe Jay Bruce . Nope. Scott Rolen.

Mookie made the defensive play of the game

Mookie Betts plays right field for the Red Sox but he started in center field in place of the injured Mike Trout in the All-Star Game. In the fourth inning he made a great throw to get Nolan Arenado trying to advance to second base on a deep fly ball. Check it out:

Arenado is a big man but he isn't slow. The throw from Betts was strong and accurate. Right on the bag. Arenado was out by a mile.

The Freeze lost!

Nigel Talton, aka The Freeze, made the trip from SunTrust Park down to Miami for the All-Star Game. And, as usual, The Freeze raced a fan on the warning track between innings. And, not as usual, The Freeze lost. To the action footage:

An All-Star effort by the racing fan, that was.

Blackmon and LeMahieu stood for a teammate

During the All-Star Game, MLB and Fox stopped the game broadcast to Stand Up To Cancer. Everyone in the ballpark was given a placard to write the name of someone who has been stricken by cancer.

Outside the NL dugout All-Stars Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu  stood for Colorado Rockies teammate Chad Bettis . Bettis has not pitched this season as he undergoes treatment for testicular cancer. Here's the video and here's a screengrab of Blackmon and LeMahieu with their Bettis signs:

blackmon-lemahieu-bettis.jpg
Charlie Blackmon (l.) and D.J. LeMahieu stood up for teammate Chad Bettis during the All-Star Game. MLB.com screengrab

The good news is Bettis is doing well and has ramped up his throwing. In fact, he's scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment this week. Wonderful news. 

Cruz stopped for a photo with Joe West

Behind the plate for the All-Star Game was veteran umpire Joe West, who recently worked his 5,000th big-league game. Country Joe is known for having what we'll call an inconsistent strike zone. Inconsistent is a good word for it.

In the sixth inning  Nelson Cruz pinch-hit for the AL, and before his at-bat he pulled out his phone and took a photo with West. Yadier Molina gave them a hand and snapped the photo. Check it out:

Cruz smashed a fly ball to the warning track that at-bat. It would have been pretty awesome if he'd done deep after that.

Yadi continues All-Star Game dominance

The AL jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fifth thanks to a Jonathan Schoop double down the line and a Miguel Sano bloop single juuust inside the right field foul line. The NL tied the game in the sixth inning on Molina's opposite field solo home run. He took Ervin Santana deep. To the action footage:

At 34 years and 363 days, Molina is now the oldest catcher to go deep in the All-Star Game. The previous record was held by a Hall of Famer: Yogi Berra. Berra hit a home run at 34 years and 83 days in 1959.

Molina, whose gold mask and chest protector made him look like C3PO, has incredible numbers in the All-Star Game. Here's where he stood following the home run:

Molina also drew a leadoff walk in the ninth inning to potentially start a rally for the NL, but they couldn't bring him home. Alas. Yadi did his part.

Cano hits rare All-Star Game extra-innings home run

For a few minutes there it looked like we might be headed for a repeat of the 2002 All-Star Game, which infamously ended in a tie after the two teams ran out of players. Robinson Cano made sure there would be no tie with a go-ahead solo home run off Wade Davis into the NL bullpen in the tenth inning.

Here's video of the game-winning home run, which of course earned Cano the All-Star Game MVP award:

That man has such a pretty swing.

Cano's home run was the first extra innings home run in the All-Star Game in half-a-century. And as luck would have it, the man who hit that home run was in the building Tuesday.

I love this stupid game so much. 

The AL has evened the all-time series

With the AL's win Tuesday night, the all-time All-Star Game series is evened up at 43-43-2 apiece. The run differential? Zero. The AL has scored 361 runs and the NL has scored 361 runs. Crazy. The AL has won 17 of the last 21 All-Star Games to even up the all-time series, so they were way behind at one point. Not anymore though.

Remember, this one doesn't count.

Thankfully, the All-Star Game no longer decides home-field advantage in the World Series. MLB and the MLBPA agreed to eliminate that rule as part of the latest collective bargaining agreement. Each player on the winning team, the AL, received a $20,000 bonus. That was their motivation. That and bragging rights. Home-field advantage in the World Series will now be decided by each team's regular season record, as it should be.

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