MIAMI -- Jose Altuve was barely 22 and only in his first full season in the big leagues when he made his first All-Star appearance five years ago.These days, he's not only one of the more veteran Astros at the ripe age of 27, but he also is racking up
MIAMI -- Jose Altuve was barely 22 and only in his first full season in the big leagues when he made his first All-Star appearance five years ago.
These days, he's not only one of the more veteran Astros at the ripe age of 27, but he also is racking up the All-Star appearances at a frenetic pace. Now in his sixth full Major League season, Altuve has already participated in five Midsummer Classics.
But this one, on Tuesday in Miami in the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, may have been the most special, because he was able to share it with a record number of teammates. In total, the Astros had six All-Star representatives, including four first-timers.
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Sounding very much like the elder statesman, Altuve stated, simply, "I'm very proud of them."
Proud of Carlos Correa, named the American League's starting shortstop. Proud of George Springer, who beat out a host of qualified outfielders to earn a starting spot. And proud of Dallas Keuchel, who only two years ago started the game for the AL team.
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Proud of Lance McCullers, who, at the age of 23, is emerging as one of the league's most dominant pitchers, and of Chris Devenski, the reliever who can do just about anything asked of him, whether it's getting one out or 12, and who has enabled the Astros' bullpen to keep humming along despite racking up a ton of innings in the first half.
"You always want to be a part of the All-Star Game," said Altuve, who turned a double play with Correa in the second inning. "To be with five more guys from your team is really special. I love those guys."
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Neither Correa nor Altuve recorded a hit in the game and were replaced defensively long before Robinson Cano went deep to break a tie in the 10th and lead the AL to a 2-1 win. But numbers weren't the important part of the All-Star Game; rather, the experience itself was what mattered.
"It's an unbelievable feeling for me to be able to go out there and play my first All-Star Game with my teammate next to me, Jose Altuve, and Springer out there in left field," Correa said, adding that it was one of the best experiences so far of his career. "It was awesome."
Devenski, who pitched a perfect eighth and struck out Joey Votto, felt a range of emotions as he trotted out to the mound.
"It's so special," he said. "When I'm able to look back on this, I'll still smile about it. I'm glad my teammates were here from the Astros. It's cool to share with all the other guys."
Two Astros did not appear in the game -- Keuchel, currently on the DL, and McCullers, who knew there were no guarantees that he would be called on by AL manager Brad Mills to pitch.
McCullers admitted he was disappointed, but, knowing he was the "protection guy" in case of several extra innings, he was prepared for this eventual outcome.
Still, he had hoped prior to the game that he would have a chance to show what he can do.
"I feel like I have some of the best stuff in the game. I wanted to showcase it," he said with a faint grin. "I was going to reach back for triple digits maybe.
"But I'm super proud to be part of this. I'm glad we got the win."
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.