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In first All-Star Game, Simon thrilled to face Jeter

Reds righty gives up bloop hit to Yankees legend, retires Trout, Cano, Cabrera

MINNEAPOLIS -- Reds starter Alfredo Simon, who didn't even know he would be in the 2014 All-Star Game until Sunday, found himself in a prime spot of the game Tuesday night.

Simon will be the last pitcher to face Derek Jeter in an All-Star Game. The National League fell to the American League, 5-3, giving the AL home-field advantage in the World Series.

The replacement for Reds ace and teammate Johnny Cueto on the NL roster, Simon took over for Clayton Kershaw and worked the bottom of the third. The right-hander pitched a scoreless inning with one hit -- a leadoff single lofted to right field from Jeter on a full-count pitch.

"It was big," Simon said of his first All-Star Game experience. "I faced Derek Jeter in his final All-Star Game. … I just feel happy. My family has seen me pitch in the All-Star Game. I'm really proud of myself."

The rest of Simon's batters were a imposing trio for any pitcher to deal with -- Mike Trout, Robinson Cano and Miguel Cabrera.

After a wild pitch to Trout moved Jeter to second base, Simon struck out Cano with an 86-mph pitch. A 76-mph 3-2 curveball to Cabrera was lined hard, but right to Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop to end the inning.

"I thought he did great," said Reds All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier, who walked in his lone plate appearance. "He got a strikeout. He got Cabrera to line out. I was happy for him."

Of Simon's 22 pitches, 14 were strikes.

"I just tried to put a zero on the board," Simon said. "That's my first experience. I just tried to keep the game close. It's nothing different. I just tried to do my best and that's what I did."

In his 14th and final All-Star Game, Jeter finished 2-for-2 before he exited. He led off the game with a double off Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, who told reporters he grooved pitches over the plate to the soon-to-be retired Yankees captain, though he later backed off from his earlier comments. Simon did not take the same approach.

"I threw another fastball, 3-2, and he got a blooper in. It was OK," Simon said. "I tried to get him out, but if he got a base hit, it's no big deal. It's the All-Star Game. I'm happy for him."

It's been a breakout season for Simon, a reliever who began the year as a replacement in the Cincinnati rotation for Mat Latos. He earned his spot on the NL team by going 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 18 starts.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
Read More: Cincinnati Reds, Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier, Alfredo Simon