MIAMI -- It had to be Cody Bellinger. Given what happened last month in Cleveland, where the Dodgers rookie made Indians relief ace Andrew Miller look human, of course the baseball gods saw fit to pit them against one another again with an All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on the
MIAMI -- It had to be Cody Bellinger. Given what happened last month in Cleveland, where the Dodgers rookie made Indians relief ace Andrew Miller look human, of course the baseball gods saw fit to pit them against one another again with an All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on the line.
This time, Miller finished off the 10th inning of the American League's 2-1 victory over the National League with one of his devastating sliders. The pitch tailed low and away and evaded Bellinger's powerful swing. Then, with the strikeout, save and win in hand, Miller spun around on the mound, hopped into the air and flashed a smile as the cameras captured the final moment of the 88th Midsummer Classic.
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"It's just a lot of fun. It's first class. It's hectic," Miller said of his second All-Star Game. "I'm still sweating, as you can see. What an experience. It's something I'll never forget, and I'm glad it worked out the way it did. I'm glad I got in there in that situation and found a way."
The AL and NL were knotted in a 1-1 deadlock through nine innings, but Seattle's Robinson Cano put an end to that with a go-ahead home run in the top of the 10th. With Cleveland, Miller is utilized mostly as a leverage weapon, making him an option from the sixth inning on. In this case, AL manager and Indians bench coach Brad Mills held on to Miller in case things went to extra innings.
Miller took over for Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel and first induced a flyout to right field, where Tigers outfielder Justin Upton made a nice sliding catch to rob Dodgers All-Star Corey Seager. Next, Miller generated a groundout off the bat of Ender Inciarte, who watched Tribe shortstop Francisco Lindor range far up the middle to snare the ball before firing it to first.
With Bellinger looming in the on-deck circle, Miller walked Joey Votto.
"No matter who you face in these situations, it's a big spot," Miller said. "Obviously, having a little history kind of had that, 'This is meant to be,' moment."
Back on June 13, Bellinger belted a leadoff home run against one of Miller's sliders, marking the first homer allowed by the lefty on the season. One night later, Bellinger faced Miller again and drew a walk, helping set up a four-run outburst by Los Angeles. Miller, who rarely walks batters or gives up home runs, allowed a 1.000/1.000/4.000 slash line to Bellinger in two meetings.
Bellinger did not get the best of Miller this time. Instead, the left-hander joined Doug Jones (1989), Cal McLish (1959), Bob Feller (1939) and Mel Harder (1935 and '37) as Indians to record a save in an All-Star Game. That accomplishment comes for Miller comes one year after Indians All-Star Corey Kluber picked up the win for the AL in the Midsummer Classic in San Diego.
It had to be Bellinger.
"Right? How about that?" Indians All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley said with a laugh. "They have some history. We've all seen it, but we won this time."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.