The American League All-Stars defeated their National League counterparts by a 4-2 score in Tuesday night's Midsummer Classic, played in San Diego's Petco Park.
Despite the final score, the NL struck first. Kris Bryant hit a first-inning home run off Chris Sale, exciting one half of Chicago and disappointing the other. Bryant was the youngest Cubs player to hit a home run in an All-Star Game since 1936, according to the broadcast.
Thereafter, the game turned into a microcosm of last fall's playoffs -- meaning, basically, that the Royals came up big time and again. First, Eric Hosmer hit a solo home run off former teammate Johnny Cueto to even the score. Then, following a Mookie Betts single, Salvador Perez popped his own dinger, making it a 3-1 game. The Royals weren't done just yet. Hosmer's next time up, he singled in another run, pushing the lead to 4-1. You read that right -- the Royals combination drove in all four of the AL's runs.
Hosmer & Perez are 2nd pair of teammates to homer in same inning of an All-Star Game (Steve Garvey & Jim Wynn, 1975) pic.twitter.com/VCxd4sDzRb— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) July 13, 2016
From there, the NL's pitching settled in. Their hitting? Not so much. Marcell Ozuna plated their second run in the fourth, and that was that.
The NL All-Stars had repeated chances to chip away, or even take the lead, but they failed to take advantage: Runners reached second and third against Jose Quintana in the fifth inning; both Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado failed to cash in a runner from second base in the seventh; and Aldemys Diaz struck out looking to end the eighth with the bases loaded. The NL did have multiple chance with the tying run at the plate in the ninth, but Zach Britton weathered the storm, inducing a game-ending double play to secure the victory for the AL.
As a result, the AL representative in this year's World Series will possess home-field advantage.
Here are five other things you need to know about the 2016 All-Star Game.
1. David Ortiz had a nice night, but not as nice as he hoped
This being Ortiz's last All-Star Game before retirement, you had to think he was going to have a memorable moment or two, Big Papi being Big Papi and whatnot. He delivered -- sort of.
Before the game, Ortiz gave an inspiring speech about the importance of mindset. Then, in-game, he was removed following a walk in his second plate appearance. Predictably, his AL teammates gave him a warm reception, emptying the dugout to offer their appreciation. Alas, Jose Fernandez didn't deliver on his promise to give Ortiz a pipe shot, so we weren't treated to the perfect Papi sendoff.
2. It seemed like nobody knew why the AL squad was the home team
For many, the All-Star Game featured a mystery -- just why was the NL treated like the road team? After all, the game was being played at Petco Park, home of the NL's Padres.
The answer amounts to this: MLB is hosting four consecutive All-Star Games at NL parks, but didn't want the AL acting as the road team each time. Hence the two leagues will alternate, with the AL set to serve as the home team in Washington in 2018 as well.
Weird? Yes. Sensible? Yup.
3. Mike Trout is really good at baseball
You already knew that. But it doesn't seem to matter what the criteria is, Trout always finds a new way to prove it. The latest example came when Trout singled in the first inning against Cueto.
Why was that event notable? Because it made him the first AL player to notch a hit in each of his first five All-Star Games, per the broadcast. Joe Morgan (seven) and Willie Mays (six) are the only players with longer streaks.
Tune in next year to see if Trout can keep it up.
4. An entertainer made a mess
Here was an unexpected scene: a member of the tenors that performed the Canadian national anthem before the game chose to make a political statement. Specifically, he held up a sign and altered the lyrics in an homage to the All Lives Matter counter-movement. The group later apologized and said that one of the group's members made the gesture on his own, distancing themselves from his political stance.
5. Eric Hosmer is a pickup man
Lest you think Hosmer -- the first Royal to win the All-Star Game MVP since Bo Jackson -- isn't K.C. to his core, here's evidence to the contrary. Hosmer was given a choice between a stylish car and a pickup truck, and he selected the truck.
Of course he did.
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