Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

AL wins All-Star Game 4-2; Hosmer is MVP

SAN DIEGO — This was a fitting All-Star finale for David Ortiz.

No, the Red Sox slugger didn't go deep in his 10th and final All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Petco Field. But home runs accounted for three of the four runs his American League team scored in a 4-2 victory over the National League, which had a homer as well.

The World Series champion Royals had a big part in settling this one.

Game MVP Eric Hosmer homered in the second inning and added an RBI single in the fourth. His Kansas City teammate, Salvador Perez, also delivered a two-run homer in the second.

Baltimore's Zach Britton was called on to get the final three outs, with AL manager Ned Yost leaving the Rays' lone All-Star representative, reliever Alex Colome, unused. Britton allowed a single to Daniel Murphy but nothing more.

The NL loaded the bases in the top of the eighth — yes, top, as the NL was the road team even with the game in San Diego — but Houston's Will Harris struck out Aledmys Diaz of the Cardinals to end the threat.

Both AL home runs came off of former Royals starter Johnny Cueto, who yielded five hits and three runs while getting only five outs. Cueto, now of the Giants, started for the NL.

"I'm not trying to make excuses, but sometimes you get up and you don't feel well," Cueto said. "This morning I got up and didn't feel well."

Cueto was a teammate of Hosmer and Perez in Kansas City's World Series title run last year.

Cubs youngster Kris Bryant accounted for the first run of the game with a solo homer to left for the NL in the first and Miami's Marcell Ozuna had an RBI single in the fourth.

But Ortiz, the popular Big Papi, was the big star. He was embraced by nearly member of the AL roster when he was replaced by a pinch runner and strolled back to the dugout.

Miguel Cabrera playfully tousled Ortiz's hair. As the Boston slugger made his way through the scrum of players, he wrapped his Red Sox teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. in a bear hug and lifted him off the ground.

Ortiz called the embraces "something I'll never forget. … You see all your boys."

The 40-year-old Boston designated hitter has said he will retire after this season. He leads the majors in slugging percentage, on-base average and extra-base hits this year.

Ortiz drew a walk in the third inning from Miami's Jose Fernandez, a former standout at Alonso High.

Fernandez had said Monday that he'd groove a pitch for Ortiz. While he threw a few fastballs in the 90s, the slugger didn't connect.

"I was supposed to hit a home run in my second at-bat. (Fernandez) told me he was going to throw me a fastball and the first pitch was a changeup," Ortiz said.

Fernandez called it "an amazing experience. At first I was just throwing fastball, fastball, fastball, so I thought I should mix it up with a breaking pitch and he took it. I was nervous. I couldn't believe that I was actually pitching to him. … He signed the jersey I brought for him. It was just special."

The winning league gets home-field advantage in the World Series, and whoever gets there from the AL, they will indeed have homefield advantage — in a game actually played at home, unlike Tuesday. At least four consecutive All-Star games will be at NL parks; hence the decision to award AL homefield advantage for this one.

Hosmer was the second Royal named All-Star Game MVP. Bo Jackson did it in 1989.

"It felt like my first big-league game,'' Hosmer said. "It's fun to play the game when you can feel like a kid again.''

Of his home run, Hosmer said: "I was smiling all the way around the bases.''

Sounds like something Big Papi would do.

 
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