AL ends 8-game All-Star losing streak with 3 homers in '71

Robinson, Jackson, Killebrew hit 2-run blasts for Junior Circuit

March 4th, 2016
(L-R) Hall of Famers Frank Robinson,Harmon Killebrew and Reggie Jackson each went deep for the AL in 1971.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Three, two-run homers by Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson and Harmon Killebrew rallied the American League to a 6-4 victory in the 1971 All-Star Game - ending the National League's eight-game winning streak in the series.

There were six homers in the 42nd All-Star Game - all by future Hall of Famers. Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente homered for the National League in the July 13 game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

The game started off as though the National League was off to another win.

Cincinnati catcher Bench hit a two-run homer off American League starter Vida Blue of the Oakland A's in the second and Atlanta Braves right fielder Aaron hit a solo homer off Blue in the third giving the National League a 3-0 lead.

Then National League starter Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates ran into trouble in the third, giving up four runs on the homers by Jackson and Robinson.

Boston Red Sox shortstop Luis Aparicio opened the American League third on a single, leading American League manager Earl Weaver of the Baltimore Orioles to send Jackson into the game as a pinch-hitter.

The at-bat was Jackson's first and it was memorable. The Oakland A's outfielder launched a 520-foot drive that hit a light tower on the roof in right-center at Tiger Stadium, cutting the National League lead to 3-2.

Minnesota Twincs second baseman Rod Carew, who was hitting in the lead-off position, immediately drew a walk. Ellis retired the next two hitters on infield flies, bringing up Baltimore's Robinson. The right fielder hit a line drive into the lower right-field seats to put the American League ahead to stay.

Robinson's homer made All-Star Game history. The former Cincinnati outfielder became the first player in Mid-Summer Classic history to homer for both teams in All-Star Games. This homer also propelled Robinson to the Most Valuable Player Award.

The American League extended its lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth.

Hometown hero Al Kaline of the Tigers, who replaced Robinson in right field in the top of the inning, opened the inning with a single off Ferguson Jenkins of the Chicago Cubs. First baseman Killebrew of the Twins followed with a two-run homer to left.

Pittsburgh right fielder Clemente homered in the top of the eighth off Detroit's Mickey Lolich.

There were only 12 hits in the game with half going for homers. The National League had only five hits and the American League seven. Bench was the only player in the game with two hits.

After Blue allowed three runs on two hits -- he hit Pittsburgh's Willie Stargell with a pitch in front of Bench's homer - in three innings, the American League got near identical outings from Baltimore Orioles teammates Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar. Each allowed a hit in two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.

Lolich closed out the win.