MVP Trout fuels AL's third straight ASG win

July 14th, 2015

CINCINNATI -- An unquestionably successful All-Star experience in Cincinnati saw some its most memorable moments delivered by two guys from New Jersey. Third baseman Todd Frazier of the host Reds, with an assist from a new format, provided the drama and energy while winning the Gillette Home Run Derby sponsored by Head and Shoulders on Monday. Then, Angels superstar Mike Trout added his own sizzle on Tuesday to the 86th All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile.
Trout hit a leadoff home run and scored two runs, setting the tone for the American League in a 6-3 victory over the National League before 43,656 fans at Great American Ball Park. It was the third straight All-Star win for the AL, which will have home-field advantage once again in the World Series.
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Trout became the first back-to-back winner of the All-Star Game MVP Award presented by Chevrolet.
"It means a lot," Trout said. "Obviously, [we] came out with a 'W.' That's the biggest thing. When I go out there, I play my hardest every day. … It's just an incredible honor to be a part of the All-Star Game and win the MVP twice. It's something special, for sure."
It was two AL runs in the top of the fifth inning against Clayton Kershaw that snapped a 1-1 tie. Pinch-hitting, Prince Fielder hit an RBI single with one out and was followed by Lorenzo Cain, who laced an RBI double. Andrew McCutchen hit a homer for the NL to lead off the sixth, but the AL added on with two runs in the seventh on Manny Machado's RBI double off the wall in right-center field and Fielder's sacrifice fly off Francisco Rodriguez. Brian Dozier provided an eighth-inning homer to give the AL insurance.

The winning pitcher was David Price, who threw a perfect fourth inning with two strikeouts, while Kershaw was the losing pitcher.
Unforgettable moments began even before the first pitch, when the "Franchise Four" players from all 30 teams were announced. The Reds were saved for last and introduced on the field, with the fans erupting for Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Barry Larkin and, especially, Pete Rose. It was followed by the introduction of the four greatest living players -- Henry Aaron, Bench, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays.
"It was awesome to see guys like that," Trout said.
With a strong All-Star week behind it, Cincinnati passes the baton to San Diego, the host for the 2016 Midsummer Classic.
Leadoff muscle from Trout : The AL jumped out to a lead immediately when Trout led off the game by hitting NL starter Zack Greinke's 1-2 pitch into the first row of right-field seats. The ball had an exit velocity of 100.2 mph, according to Statcast™. It was only the fourth time in All-Star Game history that there has been a homer to begin the top of the first inning, and it was the first time since the Reds' Joe Morgan did it in 1977. The last first-inning leadoff homer in the All-Star Game was by Bo Jackson of the Royals in the bottom of the first in 1989. Trout finished the game 1-for-3 with two runs scored and improved to 5-for-10 in his All-Star career.
"It was a lot of fun," AL manager Ned Yost said. "We've been really working on our game plan for the last week. We tried to punch holes in it every which way we could, and we worked it to perfection. We wanted to put power at the top of the lineup and hopefully get a quick strike. Mike Trout took care of that for us."   More >

Keuchel smooth: The AL starter, Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, allowed just one ball out of the infield in his two innings but surrendered an unearned run in the second. He recorded one strikeout, inducing four ground-ball outs. Keuchel became the fourth Astros pitcher to start an All-Star Game and the first since Roger Clemens in 2004 (Mike Scott in 1987 and J.R. Richard in '80 were the others).
"The best experience I've ever had in my life," Keuchel said. "I'm just thankful I was able to get the nod and I guess throw strikes. I was worried about being too amped up and being all over the place, but I was able to calm down after that first pitch and able to settle in."   More >

Greinke grinds through AL lineup: Following the Trout homer, Greinke did not give up another hit. His line was one earned run with one hit, one walk and four strikeouts. His four K's were the most by an All-Star pitcher since Boston's Pedro Martinez struck out five at Fenway Park in 1999, and the most by an NL pitcher since Lee Smith in 1987. Greinke hadn't allowed a run in 35 2/3 innings entering the Midsummer Classic.   More >
Unearned run for NL: After Paul Goldschmidt reached on an infield single and a throwing error by third baseman Josh Donaldson, the NL evened the game in the second with an unearned run. Jhonny Peralta blooped a two-out RBI single to short right field that scored Goldschmidt to make it a 1-1 game. The NL did not have another baserunner until Peralta walked with one out in the fifth, and it lacked another hit until McCutchen's homer to begin the sixth.
Price keeps rolling: Price struck out NL sluggers Bryce Harper and Goldschmidt during a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth inning. Price has been on five All-Star teams and has pitched in three All-Star Games, allowing just one hit and no runs over four innings. He started for the AL in 2010 and pitched two innings, then tossed another perfect frame for the AL in '12.   More >

Bumgarner, Perez reunite:Madison Bumgarner retired Salvador Perez to end Game 7 of the 2014 World Series and also struck out Perez in the top of the fourth, his lone inning in the All-Star Game. The Bumgarner-Perez rematch was an entertaining battle in which Perez worked a full count, but eventually Bumgarner got the Royals' catcher to strike out swinging. However, strike three was a wild pitch, allowing Perez to reach first base.
In Bumgarner's scoreless fourth, he did allow a single to Cain. The Royals outfielder added an RBI double in the fifth, becoming the first Royals player to have a multihit All-Star Game since Jackson in 1989. George Brett did it three times.   More >

Kershaw can't close the fifth: With two outs and a runner on second in the top of the fifth, Kershaw had a 1-2 count on Albert Pujols before walking him with three straight balls. That opened the door for the AL, and Fielder snapped a tied game with a single to left field that scored Trout. Cain followed with an RBI double scorched down the left-field line to score Pujols and make it a 3-1 game.
"Not great," Kershaw said. "I gave up a couple of runs, so it's never the best."   More >

deGrom dealing: Right-hander Jacob deGrom, the Mets' lone All-Star, represented his team well in the top of the sixth inning by striking out the side -- Stephen Vogt, Jason Kipnis and Jose Iglesias -- on only 10 pitches, including nine strikes. Eight of his pitches were clocked at 96 mph or faster, including a 97-mph heater that fanned Vogt for the inning's first out. deGrom is the first pitcher in All-Star Game history with three strikeouts in an inning while using 10 pitches or fewer. Brad Lidge used 11 pitches in 2005.
"That was unreal," deGrom said. "I was looking forward to getting a chance to throw, and I was pretty nervous in the bullpen, but when I got out there the nerves kind of went away, it was an awesome experience."  More >
Trout races home: Trout's speed on the basepaths was a huge factor in a two-run fifth inning for the AL off Kershaw.
Trout reached a top speed of 21.3 mph in beating out a forceout after Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar led off with a single. Following a walk by Angels teammate Pujols, Trout scored the go-ahead run on a single by Fielder, topping out at 20.4 mph as he raced home from second base to beat a throw from Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson that was clocked at 92.5 mph.

Cutch goes deep: In the bottom of the sixth inning on the first pitch he saw from Chris Archer, McCutchen led off with a home run into the left-field seats that cut the NL's deficit at the time to one run. According to Statcast™, McCutchen's drive left the bat at 107 mph and was projected to land 406 feet away. McCutchen's homer, coupled with Trout's, marked the first time since 1965 that both starting leadoff batters had homered in an All-Star Game. In '65, Mays (NL) and Dick McAuliffe (AL) both homered.   More >

Iglesias flashes leather: Playing in his first All-Star Game, Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias helped cut short a potential rally by the NL with a great play in the hole to end the eighth inning. With a runner on second and two outs, Iglesias ranged to his right to scoop a sharp ground ball off the bat of Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal. With his momentum carrying him away from first base, Iglesias then threw across his body, firing a strike to Mark Teixeira for the out.
Chapman brings heat: The home fans weren't disappointed when Reds closer Aroldis Chapman entered for the top of the ninth and struck out the side, getting Brock Holt, Mike Moustakas and Teixeira. Chapman threw 14 pitches, 12 of which were clocked at 100 mph or faster. He twice reached 103 mph facing Moustakas, including his K for the second out.
"I feel really happy," Chapman said via translator Tomas Vera. "I can't describe it, but I feel like I had so much fun. I want to do this. I'm happy I threw the ninth. I had a chance to show the fans and everybody else what they're used to seeing every night, pitching the way I do."

"That was good. That was fun. Obviously, when you spend 12 years coming to Cincinnati and you beat them so many times, they're going to boo you. It was a great time. I was enjoying it." -- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, on fans of the NL Central-rival Reds booing him and his teammates
Trout's first All-Star Game at-bats keep improving each year. His first at-bat in 2012 was a single. In 2013? A double. Last year? A triple. And now the homer to start his 2015 Midsummer Classic. Trout became the ninth player to hit for a career cycle in the All-Star Game, and Fielder became the 10th with his single in the fifth. The other eight: Lou Whitaker, Brett, Mike Schmidt, Steve Garvey, Ernie Banks, Roberto Clemente, Mays and Ted Williams.

The National League's edge over the American League in All-Star Games continued to shrink. The NL leads the all-time series, 43-41-2. The AL is 21-5-1 over the last 27 All-Star Games.