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Marte an early bright spot for NL All-Stars

Starting second baseman launches double in first All-Star at-bat
@JesseSanchezMLB
July 10, 2019

CLEVELAND -- What was once only a dream for Ketel Marte became a reality Tuesday night at Progressive Field. There was no need to pinch the D-backs star. He was wide awake and enjoyed every moment of his trip to the 90th MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, which the

CLEVELAND -- What was once only a dream for Ketel Marte became a reality Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

There was no need to pinch the D-backs star. He was wide awake and enjoyed every moment of his trip to the 90th MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, which the American League won 4-3. He’s had a ball since he arrived in Cleveland on Sunday.

Box score

“It’s been a lot of fun. A great experience,” Marte said. “The Home Run Derby was great. The red carpet was really cool. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Marte started at second base for the National League and the action found him quickly. In the bottom of the first, he narrowly missed a ground ball up the middle off the bat of Houston leadoff hitter George Springer for the AL’s first hit of the game. One out later, Angels center fielder Mike Trout scorched a sharp ground ball that bounced off Marte’s chest. He recovered to throw Trout out at first for the second out of the frame.

Marte led off the top of the third inning with a double to right field off Twins starter Jose Berrios. He was stranded there after the next two hitters struck out and Javier Baez flied out to left fielder Michael Brantley. In the fifth inning, Marte struck out on a 3-2 breaking ball from Cleveland’s Shane Bieber. It was an impressive at-bat considering that he battled back from down, 0-2, in the count.

Marte’s father and two sisters were among the family members in Cleveland to watch him play. Meanwhile his mother, Elpidia Valdez, was on his mind. She was killed two years ago when a vehicle hit the moped she was driving in the Dominican Republic.

He thinks about her every day.

“This is dedicated to my mother and my entire family,” Marte said. “This is something that you will never forget so it was important for me to dedicate [it] to the people that you love the most. This is for them, too.”

Marte knows there is still plenty of work to do in 2019.

“I just have to keep doing what I did in the first half, play hard and try to win,” Marte said. “We just have to keep winning games. That’s the most important thing. We just need to do the little things to win.”

Jesse Sanchez, who has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.