The American League (AL) stretched their unbeaten streak to 13 years as they beat the National League (NL) 4-3 in Major League Baseball's 80th All-Star Game in St Louis, Missouri. The National League have not won the annual middle of the season showpiece between each of the league's best players as voted by fans, managers, coaches and players, since 1996. With their 12th victory since then, the American League earned home-field advantage for their championship winning team in the season-ending, best-of-seven World Series.
Victory at Busch Stadium, home of the St Louis Cardinals, was sealed in the top of the eighth inning as the AL's Curtis Granderson of the Detroit Tigers hit a left-field triple off San Diego Padres pitcher Heath Bell, who was awarded the loss as Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon earned the win. Bell intentionally walked the next batter, Victor Martinez of the Cleveland Indians, which brought Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones up to bat and his sacrifice fly allowed Granderson to score for the 4-3 lead. That left New York Yankees closing pitcher Mariano Rivera to send down the NL batters in order in the ninth and final inning to earn the save and seal the AL's victory.
The AL had opened a 2-0 lead in the first inning with runs off starting pitcher Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants for New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter off an error from Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer off the bat of Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. The NL levelled in the second inning when Cardinals catcher Jadier Molina's base hit to centre field allowed New York Mets third baseman David Wright to score and Hamilton's throwing error to third base in the same play let Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies home also.
The NL moved into the lead in the same inning when AL starting pitcher Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays allowed a double from Monday night's Home Run Derby winner Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers that sent home Molina. A Mauer double in the fifth inning gave Jeter his second run of the night to level the score at 3-3. The AL was further boosted when Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford made a game-saving catch at the fence in the seventh inning on his way to the game's Most Valuable Player Award, before Jones' sacrifice fly to right field allowed Granderson's winning run.
* PA Sport