Revealed as the early leaders in the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote on Tuesday afternoon, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner and his Royals counterpart, Mike Moustakas, showed everyone why they deserve your votes with key home runs to lead their teams to victories on Tuesday night.
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Turner's RBI single in the first put Los Angeles ahead for good, and his eighth home run of the season in the third expanded the lead in an eventual 4-3 win behind a stellar Clayton Kershaw.
Video: ARI@LAD: Final Vote candidate Turner belts solo homer
Moustakas, on track to join Shane Victorino as the only two-time winners of the competition, hit his 24th home run of the season in the fourth inning, putting Kansas City ahead to stay in a 7-3 win in Seattle. It's already a career high in homers for Moustakas, who is now just 12 clouts short of the Royals' single-season record.
Video: KC@SEA: Moustakas drills two-run jack to right-center
Balloting for the #FinalVote, held exclusively online via MLB.com and the individual club sites, is underway through 4 p.m. ET Thursday, running right through the fireworks and deciding the 32nd and final roster spots for both teams at the 88th Midsummer Classic on July 11 at Marlins Park in Miami.
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Moustakas has 4.4 million votes atop the American League race, where the top players right behind him are Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius, Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus and Rays first baseman Logan Morrison.
Over in the National League, Turner holds the lead with 6.7 million votes, outpacing Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds and Marlins first baseman Justin Bour.
• Miami, here we come: ASG rosters set
Fans can cast ballots on MLB.com, club sites and mobile devices. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will be announced during MLB Tonight, live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET Thursday.
Now in its 16th season, with more than 680 million votes cast, the Final Vote again will include social-media votes on the last day of balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the final six hours of balloting will count toward vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
• Interactive map: Where are the votes coming from?
This will mark the 10th consecutive year that a corner infielder is among the winners, because of the positions of the five NL nominees. A first baseman has won five of the last eight years in the NL, and Bour and Reynolds are in position now. No middle infielder ever has won the Final Vote, but three shortstops will try again in the AL. This is the first Final Vote since 2007 that includes no outfielders.
This year's alliances include: #KrisX (Bryant and Bogaerts); the Floridians (Morrison and Bour); Andrus and Rendon; Moustakas and Turner; and Gregorius with former Yankee Reynolds.
Last year's Final Vote winners were first baseman Brandon Belt (Giants) and left fielder Michael Saunders (Blue Jays). Here is a closer look at your nominees:
Elvis Andrus: The Rangers' nine-year veteran was an All-Star in 2010 and '12, and he has a strong case to return amid what is shaping up as a career year. Andrus was 1-for-3 in Tuesday's loss to Boston. He already is in double figures in home runs for the first time in his career (11), is batting .301 and is making a lot of fantasy owners extremely happy. Can he join Yu Darvish ('12) as a Rangers winner in the Final Vote? Andrus has the largest Twitter following among AL nominees. #ElectElvis
Video: BOS@TEX: Rangers campaigning for Andrus
Xander Bogaerts: After starting last year's Midsummer Classic at San Diego, the Aruba native could use your help in sending him to Miami. His message to fans: "Keep voting. Vote on, vote on and we'll see what happens at the end of the day. Just keep voting. I appreciate it and may the best one win." Bogaerts, back in the lineup (but 0-for-5) on Tuesday after a slight groin sprain, has been playing old-fashioned, spray-liners-everywhere baseball, batting .308 with 95 hits, 49 runs, nine steals and a 113 OPS+. After coming up short to Moustakas in the 2015 Final Vote, the question is whether Bogaerts will have a better showing and get back to the big game. Boston is 0-for-4 in the Final Vote since closer Hideki Okajima won in 2007. #VoteX
Video: BOS@TEX: Voting underway for Bogaerts, AL Final Vote
Didi Gregorius: The Yankees' shortstop went 0-for-4 in Tuesday's loss to Toronto, but this has been another year of constant improvement as the player who had to follow Derek Jeter's act. Gregorius missed most of April with an injury, but he has made up for lost time as a quiet leader for the Yankees along with Aaron Judge and is in a third straight season of raising his OPS by at least 50 points. The most recent Yankee to win the Final Vote was Nick Swisher in 2010 -- thanks largely to his Twitter presence. David Robertson and Brett Gardner have come up short since then. #sirdidi4sure
Video: Vote for Didi! #SirDidi4Sure
Logan Morrison: Among the Rays' campaign plans is a banner plane that will fly over local beaches in the Tampa Bay area saying: "Vote Rays Logan Morrison to the All-Star Game! MLB.com." The first baseman, who had the Fourth of July off, is zooming toward the top of the list of the best available free agents after this season, putting up huge numbers, including a 153 OPS+ and hanging just behind Judge with 24 home runs. He is a big reason the Rays are contending for an AL Wild Card spot, and he could become their first player since Evan Longoria in 2008 to win the Final Vote. #GoLoMo
Video: Morrison aims for All-Star selection in AL Final Vote
Mike Moustakas: His solo homer on Monday proved to be the decisive shot in the Royals' 3-1 victory at Seattle, and he repeated that feat on Tuesday. The Royals' third baseman surpassed his career high in homers with that 23rd blast on Monday and now just needs half of his total to this point to equal Steve Balboni's longstanding club record of 36, set in 1985. Moustakas' .559 slugging percentage is easily the best of his career. He previously won the Final Vote in 2015. #VoteMoose
Video: KC@SEA: Hosmer on Duffy in win, gets doused by Perez
Justin Bour: He was 0-for-3 with a walk in Tuesday's win at St. Louis, but the biggest news surrounding Bour is that he is officially in his hometown T-Mobile Home Run Derby, along with teammate Giancarlo Stanton. Bour entered Tuesday with a 142 OPS+ with 18 homers and 53 RBIs. This is the Marlins' first Final Vote representation since Luis Castillo (2003) and Juan Pierre ('04) came up short. #VoteBour
Video: MIA@STL: Former wrestler Ric Flair supports Bour
Kris Bryant: The 2016 NL MVP, who went 1-for-4 with a run and RBI in Tuesday's loss to the Rays, was overtaken in All-Star voting by Colorado's Nolan Arenado in a classic last-week surge, and the question is whether Bryant can avoid becoming the first MVP since Jimmy Rollins in 2008 to not make the subsequent All-Star Game. The Cubs are 1-for-3 in Final Vote history, with Anthony Rizzo winning in 2014. Joe Maddon bumped Bryant up from No. 3 to 2 in the order this season, so the RBI decline is not unexpected. His walks and on-base percentage are up, and he is still projected to finish with 32 homers and 100 runs. He has the largest Twitter following in the Final Vote. #VoteKB
Video: TB@CHC: Bryant nabs Hechavarria with an athletic play
Anthony Rendon: "He does everything. He does defense, offense, steals bases. It's really hard for me to swallow that he's not up here at the table right now. I think he's had that type of year." Those were Max Scherzer's words when four Nationals talked about their All-Star selections. Rendon, who sat out the Nats' holiday rout of the Mets, leads all NL third basemen in Wins Above Replacement (3.4), according to Fangraphs, weighted runs created plus (146) and OPS (.953). He has 16 homers, 51 RBIs, and a .297/.398/.549 slash line. The Nationals are 0-for-5 in the Final Vote, as Rendon knows well enough after coming up short against Rizzo in 2014. He has another chance now to top a Cubs corner infielder. #VoteRendon
Video: NYM@WSH: Teddy, fan support Rendon in Final Vote
Mark Reynolds: He was a Final Vote candidate in 2009, when he represented Arizona but was a distant finisher behind Victorino. With his seventh team in his 11th MLB season, Reynolds is looking for his first All-Star selection. Coors Field has been his happy place, as he has been one of the Rockies' key cogs with 19 homers, 61 RBIs, and a .285 average after going 2-for-4 in a loss to the Reds on Tuesday. This is the fourth consecutive bid by Colorado, which fell short with Justin Morneau ('14), Troy Tulowitzki ('15) and Trevor Story ('16). #BeLikeMark
Video: CIN@COL: Reynolds reaches into dugout for great catch
Justin Turner: After missing three weeks with a right hamstring injury, Turner returned on June 9 and went on to hit .425 (27-for-65) with 18 runs, three doubles, five homers and 13 RBIs for the rest of the month. Besides leading the Dodgers in a key 10-game winning streak, he has one of the 10 highest batting averages at this point in a season since 1969, currently .384 after Tuesday night's 2-for-4 -- though he's still just under the required minimum at-bats to qualify for the leaderboard. Only Judge and Paul Goldschmidt were ahead of him in WAR among position players. #VoteJT
Video: ARI@LAD: Turner laces an RBI single off top of wall
Extensive coverage throughout the Final Vote will be provided by MLB Network and MLB.com, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns, and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
On Tuesday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.