Molina homers in memorable All-Star night

Wearing gold gear, Cardinals catcher takes photo for Mariners' Cruz

July 12th, 2017

MIAMI -- A half-inning after pausing play to accommodate 's in-game photo request, offered a show-stopping moment of his own in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.

Molina crushed a solo homer in the sixth that plated the National League's lone run in a 2-1, 10-inning loss and made him the oldest catcher to go deep in an All-Star Game. Molina, two days shy of his 35th birthday, took that distinction away from Yogi Berra, who was 34 years and 83 days old when he homered in the 1959 All-Star Game.

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"When you're in the All-Star Game and facing good players, superstar players, and you get a hit like that, it's a great moment," Molina said afterward.

His night was dotted with great moments, beginning with a ceremony that honored some of the game's best Latin-born players. It concluded with Molina catching a ceremonial first pitch thrown by one of the sons of Puerto Rican great Roberto Clemente.

After watching throw two scoreless innings, Molina, wearing a gold-plated chest protector and golden mask for the occasion, replaced behind the plate in the sixth. He was unaware that he'd soon be asked to handle a photography request.

Cruz came to the plate with his phone and asked Molina if he'd snap a quick photo of him with home-plate umpire Joe West, who recently worked his 5,000th Major League game. Molina obliged and, of course, squatted to frame the perfect shot.

"That was weird, huh?" Molina said. "It was funny, too. Weird and funny. He asked me for a picture and I was like, 'Are you serious?' He was like, 'Yeah, yeah.' So I said, 'OK.' I took two."

Capping his memorable night, Molina took Twins pitcher deep in the bottom half of the inning with his first opposite-field blast of the season. He became the sixth Cardinal to homer in an All-Star Game and the first since Reggie Smith in 1974.

The eight-time All-Star smiled as he rounded the bases, saying afterward that he "felt like a little kid" in that moment. He received a slap on the back from American League shortstop , who was a teammate of Molina's during the March World Baseball Classic, and acknowledged his family as he neared home.

Molina had approximately 20 friends and family, including several who had flown in from Puerto Rico, in attendance at Marlins Park.

He remained behind the plate for the remainder of the 10-inning game and came 90 feet shy of scoring the winning run after opening the ninth with a leadoff walk.

Because of the setting, his contributions and the ceremony, Molina noted that, behind the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis, this was the most enjoyable Midsummer Classic of which he's been a part.

"I really liked it," said Molina, now 5-for-8 in All-Star Games. "I did have fun. I learned a lot here. This was one of the best ones."