The American League continued its All-Star Game dominance at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night, on the strength of back-to-back home runs by Giancarlo Stanton and Byron Buxton. The AL won the 2022 MLB All-Star Game 3-2, making it nine straight against the National League in the Midsummer Classic.
Stanton, who was named the All-Star Game MVP, hit a 457-foot, two-run homer off Dodgers righty Tony Gonzole in the fourth inning. In the next out, Buxton hit a home run 425 feet to give the AL a one-run lead that they would never relinquish.
The National League got off to a strong start. Dodgers legend Clayton Kershaw got the start in front of his home crowd and pitched a scoreless first inning (which featured a pick-off by Shohei Ohtani). The NL scored two runs in the first thanks to an RBI single by Mookie Betts and a solo homer by Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. The NL had four hits off AL starter Shane McClanahan, but had just one hit over the final eight innings.
Now for some tips from the 2022 All-Star Game.
AL hitting streak to nine
The American League’s All-Star Game hitting streak is now nine. 21-4 in last 25 All-Star games on so-called junior circuit. The National League dominated the All-Star Game in the 1960s and 1970s, and despite its recent dominance the AL holds only a slim 47-43-2 edge in the all-time series. The AL looks to extend its All-Star Game hitting streak to 10 next year at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
Stanton and Buxton made history
Thanks to Goldschmidt’s first-inning homer, the NL took a 2-0 lead into the fourth inning. However, that changed quickly thanks to the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton and the Twins’ Byron Buxton.
With one out and one on, the host Dodgers gave up Tony Gonzolin’s 0-2 splitter to Stanton. Stanton, who joined Mariano Rivera (2013) and Derek Jeter (2000) in winning All-Star Game MVP honors, saw it to his liking:
It’s a 457-foot crush-job that reaches close to the seats where Stanton sat when he visited Dodger Stadium as a child. It left the bat at 111.7 mph. According to Sarah LongsHighest statcast exit velocity ever recorded in an All-Star Game.
That tied the game, and Buxton, the next batter, hit a 2-1 fastball above the zone to give the AL a 3-2 lead:
We say above the zone, we say it with certainty:
Those two circuit clouds were made for the first back-to-back homers in the All-Star Game since Alex Bregman and the Astros’ George Springer went seventh overall in 2018. Note the significance of the Stanton-Buxton combo, however, which is unprecedented as far as the Midsummer Classic is concerned:
Not coincidentally, Stanton and Buxton combined for 47 homers in the first half of the season.
Kershaw chose Ohtani
Before his first at-bat, Shohei Ohtani said in an interview that he planned to swing at the first pitch, and that he would swing at the first pitch he ever made. He sent Clayton Kershaw’s first pitch up the middle for a lead-off single. Ohtani became the third player to hit on the first pitch of the All-Star Game, joining his Angels teammate Mike Trout (2013) and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett (1986).
Ohtani’s stint on the bases didn’t last long. After giving up a few pitches, Kershaw picked off Ohtani from first base. Check this out:
The pickoff throw in the All-Star Game? Come on man. It’s not as bad as replacing the infield in the All-Star Game, but come on. Either way, this is the first All-Star Game pickoff since Carlos Zambrano beat Milton Bradley in 2008.
Ohtani went 1 for 1 in the All-Star Game. Alas, he didn’t pitch. Kershaw Ohtani singled and Rafael Devers walked in his scoreless inning. But a pickoff throw in the All-Star Game? Really? That’s a penalty in a kangaroo court.
Nestor Cortez became a ‘rogue’
The Yankees had two unlikely All-Stars this year in catcher Jose Trevino and lefty Nestor Cortes. Trevino arrived from the Rangers in a minor trade at the end of spring training, and Cortez rejoined the Yankees on a minor-league deal last year.
They connected as the American League’s battery in the sixth inning, and they were mic’d up on the broadcast. We got to hear them joke around with pitch selection. It was clean. We heard Cortez say one of his trademark funky deliveries was coming:
“I’m probably going to go completely rough on it. You’ll probably see some cool stuff there.” Cortez told NJ.com earlier this week. I wouldn’t say a funky delivery qualifies as rude — Cortez has started it once or twice with the Yankees — but it’s definitely different, and funnier. The Cortez and Trevino mic-up was a good half-inning of television.
Couldn’t see the new tiebreaker pattern
Earlier this week, MLB announced that All-Star Game ties will be decided by extra innings, as has been the practice in the past. Instead with an abbreviated home run derby. In the event of a tie score after nine innings, each team will select three batters, and each team will get three swings. After all six players have had a chance to bat through three rounds, the team with the highest score is declared the winner.
Needless to say, this new wrinkle was met with excitement from fans, and many of us were no doubt expecting a tie on Tuesday night. That didn’t go well, as the AL held onto its one-run lead over the final five and a half innings.
In the eighth, the NL managed its first hit since the first inning—an Austin Riley single to right off Clay Holmes in the frame with one out—but Holmes bounced back to get the next two outs, and Liam Hendricks capped the streak after that. tying run. In the ninth, Guardians closer Emmanuel Klaus struck out the side for the save.
Had we tied, Ty France, Julio Rodríguez and Kyle Tucker would have swung for the AL, while Pete Alonso, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Kyle Schwarber would have gone for the NL in the mini-derby. Advantage NL, would they have kicked out three actual Home Run Derby participants? Alas, we’ll never know.
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