STAR-GAZING: AL tops NL
MINNEAPOLIS – Derek Jeter soaked in the adulation from fans and players during one more night on baseball’s national stage, set the tone for the American League with a pregame speech and then delivered two final All-Star hits.
Mike Trout, perhaps the top candidate to succeed the 40-year-old Yankees captain as the face of the game, seemed ready to assume the role with a tiebreaking triple and later a go-ahead double that earned him MVP honors.
On a summer evening filled with reminders of generational change, the AL kept up nearly two decades of dominance by beating the National League 5-3 Tuesday for its 13th win in 17 years.
Miguel Cabrera homered to help give the AL champion home-field advantage for the World Series.
No matter what else happened, it seemed destined to be another special event for Jeter.
He received a 63-second standing ovation when he walked to the plate leading off the bottom of the first, another rousing cheer when he led off the third and 2 1-2 minutes of applause after AL manager John Farrell sent Alexei Ramirez to shortstop to replace him at the start of the fourth.
As Frank Sinatra’s recording of “New York, New York” boomed over the Target Field speakers and his parents watched from the stands, Jeter repeatedly waved to the crowd, exchanged handshakes and hugs with just about every person in the AL dugout and then came back onto the field for a curtain call.
“The guys on our side have the utmost respect for him and would like to have been standing out there for a little while longer,” said NL manager Mike Matheny of the Cardinals. “I think Derek was the one that was uncomfortable with it.”
The AL improved to 9-3 since the All-Star game started deciding which league gets Series home-field advantage; 23 of the last 28 titles were won by teams scheduled to host four of a possible seven games.
Detroit’s Max Scherzer, in line to be the most-prized free agent pitcher after the season, pitched a scoreless fifth for the win, and Glen Perkins got the save in his home ballpark.
Target Field, a $545 million, limestone-encased jewel that opened in 2010, produced an All-Star cycle just eight batters in, with hitters showing off flashy neon-bright spikes and fielders wearing All-Star caps with special designs for the first time.
After Robinson Cano struck out, Cabrera homered over the left-field wall for a 3-0 lead – just the fourth home run in the last six All-Star games.
Jeter then hit a soft single into right off Alfredo Simon leading off the third but was stranded.
The NL, which still holds a 43-40-2 advantage in the series, came back on consecutive RBI doubles by Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy off Jon Lester that made it 3-2.
Lucroy’s run-scoring double against Chris Sale tied the score in the fourth.
The AL went ahead for good in the fifth against Pat Neshek, the St. Louis reliever who grew up in the Minneapolis suburbs and started his career with the Twins.
Josh Donaldson and Derek Norris hit one-out singles, and Trout hit an RBI double down the third-base line that was ruled fair by umpire Scott Barry. Because the ball landed in front of the umpire – it was real close to the line – it was not reviewable under baseball’s new replay rules.
Jose Altuve followed with a sacrifice fly off Tyler Clippard that made it 5-3.
NOTES: Next year’s All-Star game is in Cincinnati. … Neshek’s brother works on the grounds crew at Target Field.