When Michael Brantley sent the Indians into the All-Star break with a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning against the Yankees on Sunday -- leading to a win -- it reminded fans he's no stranger to clutch at-bats.Brantley represented the Tribe well on Tuesday night in the 89th All-Star
When Michael Brantley sent the Indians into the All-Star break with a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning against the Yankees on Sunday -- leading to a win -- it reminded fans he's no stranger to clutch at-bats.
Brantley represented the Tribe well on Tuesday night in the 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park. The left fielder went 1-for-2 and delivered a key sacrifice fly as part of a three-run 10th inning to help the American League secure an 8-6 win against the National League.
The decisive rally also gave the AL its sixth straight Midsummer Classic win. Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber did not pitch in the game.
"I didn't know we had won that many [All-Star Games] in a row against them," Tribe shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "But I do know that nobody wants to come out here and give up runs, and no hitter wants to come out here and strike out. Everybody's trying to do something to look good and win that day. We're all having fun, but at the same time, we're trying to put on a good show for everybody."
The game was a sluggish offensive showing for most of the Indians' All-Stars, who combined to finish 1-for-6. Lindor went 0-for-1 and sent a lazy flyout to left in the top of the sixth. After the at-bat, Lindor hit the deck to do some quick pushups.
"I hit that ball as hard as I could and it went absolutely nowhere," Lindor joked with FOX broadcaster Joe Buck while in the field during the seventh inning.
Perhaps fellow All-Stars Jose Ramirez and Yan Gomes should follow the advice of Lindor.
Ramirez -- the AL's starting third baseman -- went 0-for-2, popping out to Cubs second baseman Javier Baez on a 96.5 mph fastball from Nationals ace Max Scherzer in the first inning and striking out looking on three pitches in the fourth against the Braves' Mike Foltynewicz. In all, Ramirez saw five pitches.
"It happens, we're playing with the superstars and sometimes you don't succeed," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "Especially it happens when you're playing with superstars like this."
Most of the Indians didn't get in the game until the sixth inning. Lindor replaced Orioles star and potential trade target Manny Machado at shortstop, while Gomes replaced the Royals' Salvador Perez behind the plate and Brantley went to left in place of Boston's Mookie Betts, who started in right field.
Gomes grounded out on a first-pitch fastball from Pirates reliever Felipe Vazquez in the seventh, before Brantley followed with a single to left, though he was stranded at second. The pair batted again in the eighth after Jean Segura belted a no-doubt, three-run go-ahead homer to give the AL a short-lived 5-2 lead, striking out and grounding out, respectively.
Though the Indians have the worst winning percentage among first-place teams (.547), when Lindor was asked about his team's ability to surge in the second half, he indicated the Tribe could only be one or two moves away from contending for its second World Series appearance in three years.
"I think we're gonna make a great push," Lindor said from the clubhouse. "I think we're in a good spot, whether we add or subtract I think we're gonna be good."
With the goal being to finish the job.
"If you go back to 2016, nobody had us on the books, nobody had us making it, nobody had us winning it. We made some good trades, we added [relief ace Andrew Miller], we added guys at the Trade Deadline and the next thing you know, we're in the World Series. I believe in my team, and we've just got to make sure we're in the playoffs, and when we're in the playoffs, anything can happen."
Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com.