Posted on July 18, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Monday’s Home Run Derby was so much fun that this year’s crop of all-stars did their best to replicate it Tuesday night during the 2018 MLB All-Star Game. The American League won the game 8-6 in 10 innings. The contest featured 10 home runs, obliterating the record for an All-Star Game. In fact, it wasn’t until a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th that a run was scored other than by the home run.
“I love it,” said Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. “This is a show. We are entertainers. People want to see home runs. People want to see strikeouts.”
Naturally, Aaron Judge got the home run parade started, hitting a towering shot off National League starter Max Scherzer in the 2nd inning. Mike Trout followed with another solo shot off Jacob deGrom in the 3rd inning to put the American League up 2-0.
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Willson Contreras got the National League on the board with a solo homer in the bottom of the 3rd. Pitching then began to dominate the game in the middle innings. In addition to 10 home runs, Tuesday’s game featured 25 strikeouts, accounting for nearly half the outs in the game. From the 4th to the 6th, the All-Star Game looked every bit of a pitcher’s duel.
However, the bats woke up in a big way in the 7th inning. Trevor Story homered in the bottom half to tie the game at 2. Jean Segura then looked to play the part of a hero in the top of the 8th, crushing a three-run homer off Josh Hader to but the American League ahead 5-2.
But the National League would fight back. Christian Yelich homered to the opposite field in the bottom of the 8th to trim the lead to 5-3. In the bottom of the 9th, Scooter Gennett, who was released by the Brewers ahead of the 2017 season, delivered the game-tying home run off Seattle closer Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the 9th, sending the game to extra innings.
At that point, both managers who no doubt nervous about having enough pitchers to survive if the game continued too far beyond 10 innings. But it was a couple of members of the Houston Astros who stepped up to make that happen. Alex Bregman and George Springer led off the 10th inning with back-to-back home runs over Dodgers starter Ross Stripling. A Michael Brantley sac fly then provided the first non-home-run run of the game, extending the American League lead to 8-5.
Of course, Joey Votto homered to lead off the bottom of the 10th. But that would be the last of the scoring. Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ bounced back quickly to retire the next three batters and get the save. Diaz got the win despite blowing the save while Stripling was the losing pitcher. Bregman’s home run in the 10th was enough to earn him MVP honors. The win for the American League extends their winning streak in the Midsummer Classic to six games.
The game was the epitome of what baseball has become in 2018. The three true outcomes of home run, walk, and strikeout dominated the action. As enjoyable as it was to watch, it was impossible for the fans to ignore the inordinate amount of home runs. But for the players, it was all pretty standard stuff.
“It was like a regular-season game with the home runs accounting for pretty much everything,” said Happ afterward. “Maybe a few less walks than normal, but pretty standard stuff. We were commenting in the bullpen that that’s the way it’s going these days.”