Wednesday, July 13, 2011
All-Star MVP is a Fielder of Dreams
The National League made it two wins in a row at the All-Star Game for the first time since it won three straight from 1994-96, with a 5-1 victory at Chase Field Tuesday night. Before last season's win, the NL had been winless in 13 straight All-Star Games.
It’s the first time since a 9-4 AL win in 2004 that the game has been decided by more than two runs, and it’s the largest victory margin for the NL since a 6-0 win in 1996. The NL has allowed just one run in each of the last two contests, the first time they’ve done that since 1984 and 1985.
This marks the sixth consecutive All-Star Game in which the winning team has not scored more than five runs. That matches the longest such streak in the history of the game, set from 1986-91.
Prince Fielder put the NL in the lead for good with a three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning. He’s the first Brewer to homer in an All-Star Game and the sixth player in the last 35 seasons to hit a three-run homer or a grand slam in the Midsummer Classic. The last to do it was Alfonso Soriano in 2004.
Fielder earned MVP honors for his performance, becoming the first Brewer to be named MVP at the All-Star Game and just the fourth first baseman to win the award.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Fielder is the fourth son of a major-leaguer to win All-Star Game MVP. The others are Ken Griffey Jr (1992), Sandy Alomar (1997) and Roberto Alomar (1998).
Roy Halladay, who was the first pitcher to start an All-Star Game in both leagues, threw two perfect innings for the NL. In his first five All-Star appearances Halladay had been knocked around, allowing 13 hits in 29 at-bats.
The AL didn’t have a player reach base until the fourth inning, when Adrian Gonzalez homered, snapping a streak of 3⅔ perfect innings pitched by NL pitchers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the longest perfect game bid in an All-Star Game since a 4⅓ inning bid by the AL in 1986.
Gonzalez's home run was the first homer by either team in an All-Star game since J.D. Drew went yard in the seventh inning of the 2008 game. That ended a drought of 206 at-bats in the All-Star Game without a home run.
C.J. Wilson took the loss, allowing all three runs in the fourth inning. Wilson is the second Rangers pitcher to lose an All-Star Game, joining Jim Kern in 1979.
Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless one-third of an inning for the win. He’s the fouth pitcher to win an All-Star Game in Nationals/Expos franchise history. Matt Capps won last year, Steve Rogers won in 1982 and Charlie Lea won in 1984.
Brian Wilson got the final two outs for the save. He’s the first Giants pitcher to get a save in an All-Star Game since the save became an official stat in 1969.
What does the National League’s win mean for the Senior Circuit team that reaches the World Series? Since 1985, the team with home-field advantage has won 20 of the last 25 World Series. And if it goes to a decisive Game 7, the home team has won each of the last eight times, with the last road win in a Game 7 by the 1979 Pirates.