MIAMI -- One day after his runner-up finish in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, Twins third baseman Miguel Sano continued to elevate his national profile, delivering an RBI single in the fifth inning of the American League's 2-1 win in the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night at Marlins Park.
Sano, a first-time All-Star, replaced Jose Ramirez at third base in the bottom of the fourth inning and put the AL squad on the board in his lone at-bat of the night. Sano blooped an 0-1 fastball from Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood just inside the foul-line in right field, knocking in Jonathan Schoop from second and giving the AL a 1-0 lead.
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"I was so excited about the moment, because I've been working really hard for that," Sano said. "It was a great moment for me. I know a lot players that have, like, five All-Stars and never hit a base hit. And I got an RBI."
The Twins' two other All-Stars, closer Brandon Kintzler and right-hander Ervin Santana, followed by pitching one inning apiece, though they yielded mixed results.
Kintzler, who also made his All-Star Game debut, worked a spotless fifth for the AL. Known as a ground-ball pitcher, Kintzler stayed true to form on Tuesday night, inducing groundouts from Zack Cozart, Charlie Blackmon and Giancarlo Stanton.
"It was an amazing experience," Kintzler said. "Something I'll never forget. The game was going pretty fast, I did my best to slow it down. We had a 1-0 lead, which was great, so I got to act like it was my kind of ninth inning. Luckily, I got to face hitters that I faced many times when I was in the National League. A little similarity right there, so that was nice."
Santana relieved Kintzler in the bottom of the sixth, but he surrendered the National League's only run, a game-tying solo homer by Yadier Molina. Santana admitted that the outing triggered "a little bit" of flashbacks to the 2008 All-Star Game, when he gave up a solo shot to Matthew Holliday.
"It was a good pitch, down and away," Santana said. "But he was a diver, so he dived, and he made good contact. Yadier is a good hitter."
• It's been nine years since Santana last participated in an All-Star Game. His last trip to the Midsummer Classic came in 2008 with the Angels, marking the longest time in between selections by a pitcher since Andy Pettitte was an All-Star in 2001 and '10. Still, Santana said he thought the gap made him even more appreciative of this year's experience.
"The second one is always better than the first," Santana said in Spanish. "In the first one, you don't know what you have to do, but at the second one, you have more experience, and it's better. I've enjoyed it a lot more."
Santana said one of his favorite moments of the All-Star festivities was watching Sano finish second to Aaron Judge in Monday night's T-Mobile Home Run Derby.
"I honestly thought he was going to win," Santana said. "He was about to win, but with the other competitor, he couldn't do it. Every time [Judge] swung, the ball went out."
• Before the game, Kintzler was asked about potentially pitching the ninth inning for the AL, following in the footsteps of Glen Perkins, who closed the 2014 and '15 All-Star Games. While Kintzler ranks second in the AL with 24 saves, he chuckled at the suggestion.
"There's some guy named Kimbrel here that I think deserves to close," said Kintzler, referencing Red Sox relief ace Craig Kimbrel.
Kintzler also said that he'd like to face Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, a fellow Las Vegas native, though he didn't get his wish.
"It'd be nice to get a little Vegas showdown," Kintzler said. "I've never met him. I thought about going to talk to him today, but we were trying to get in the parade and everything was kind of busy. But maybe we'll cross paths. I've seen him at a few basketball games, but he's in the front row. I'm not in the front row."