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Relive Rocket's Houston ASG gem in '86

@brianmctaggart
May 20, 2020

HOUSTON -- In an era when pitching, speed and defense defined the game -- and in a ballpark where those facets were meant to thrive -- the 1986 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at the Astrodome featured nearly as many stolen bases as extra-base hits. In the second of two

HOUSTON -- In an era when pitching, speed and defense defined the game -- and in a ballpark where those facets were meant to thrive -- the 1986 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at the Astrodome featured nearly as many stolen bases as extra-base hits.

In the second of two All-Star games to take place in the Astrodome, five future Hall of Famers on each team started a game in which the American League won, 3-2, over the National League, which had won 13 of the previous 14 Midsummer Classics. The game was dominated by pitching, with a local boy leading the charge.

Roger Clemens of the Red Sox, making the start in his hometown of Houston in the first of his 11 All-Star Game appearances, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after throwing three perfect innings.

Lou Whitaker of the Tigers hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Dwight Gooden of the Mets, and the AL pitching staff kept the NL off the board until the eighth. Astros pitcher Mike Scott, who would win the NL Cy Young Award that year, gave up a solo homer to Frank White of the Royals in the seventh inning for a 3-0 AL lead.

Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers turned in a memorable pitching performance himself in the NL's defeat, striking out five consecutive batters to match Carl Hubbell's All-Star Game record, set 52 years prior. Valenzuela struck out Don Mattingly, Cal Ripken Jr., Jesse Barfield, Whitaker and Teddy Higuera in succession.

NL pitchers, led by Valenzuela, Sid Fernandez of the Mets and a 21-year-old Gooden, struck out 12 batters, tying the All-Star Game record set in 1934 by the NL, which was subsequently tied by the NL in '56 and the AL in '59 (and later again by the AL in '99).

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.