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Brewers pitch in, but AL wins All-Star Game

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By Tom Haudricourt
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
July 16, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS--The Milwaukee Brewers, who had to battle to make it to the break in first place in the National League Central Division, tried their best to give their league home-field advantage in the World Series this fall.

They just didn’t get enough cooperation.

After Brewers all-stars Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez did some early damage to tie the game, the American League pulled back on top Tuesday night and held on for a 5-3 victory in the All-Star Game at Target Field.

The triumph assured the AL will open at home when it comes time to play the World Series.

The Brewers’ all-star contingent turned in a strong showing for the NL. Lucroy smacked run-scoring doubles in both of his at-bats; Ramirez singled, doubled and scored a run; and closer Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless sixth inning.

Carlos Gomez, playing in left field instead of center, went 0 for 2 but robbed Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout of an extra-base hit in the third with a running catch in the corner.

The Brewers’ all-stars had to wait a bit to get in the fray because they were hitting in the bottom of the order—Ramirez sixth, Lucroy eighth and Gomez ninth.

“I told (Gomez), ‘Don’t be mad. This is a pretty good lineup,’” said Ramirez, who singled and scored a run in the second inning. “I don’t remember the last time I batted sixth in my career.

“When you see guys hitting in front of you like (Giancarlo) Stanton, (Paul) Goldschmidt, (Troy) Tulowitzki, (Yasiel) Puig, you’ll take that. It’s a pretty good lineup.”

All-Star Games often evolve into pitchers’ duels, but there was more slugging in the early going than in some of the rounds of the previous evening’s Home Run Derby. Much to the delight of the adoring crowd, New York’s Derek Jeter led off the bottom of the first with an opposite-field double and scored when Trout also went the other way for a triple off St. Louis righty Adam Wainwright.

After Robinson Cano struck out, Miguel Cabrera lined a homer over the wall in left to give the AL a quick 3-0 lead. The outburst did nothing to quell the criticism over NL manager Mike Matheny’s decision to start his Cardinals ace over the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, who followed with a perfect second inning.

Afterward, Wainwright created a bigger stir by saying he gave Jeter a pitch to hit.

“I was going to give (Jeter) a couple of pipe shots,” Wainwright said. “I didn’t know he was going to hit a double, though.”

The Brewers’ all-stars helped the NL bounce back quickly in the top of the second. Ramirez led off with a single to center and rumbled around from first base on Chase Utley’s booming double to right-center.

Lucroy followed with a double to deep left to score Utley and draw the NL within 3-2. Lucroy ranked second in the league with 32 doubles prior to the break, so he basically was doing his thing.

Jeter was removed from the game before the start of the fourth inning and exited to a thunderous ovation. The applause and cheers continued as he hugged each of his AL teammates, so he popped back out onto the field and doffed his cap one last time as Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” played over the sound system.

Jeter exited with a double and single in two at-bats, making him the leader in the clubhouse for an MVP trophy in his final Midsummer Classic. But Lucroy quickly threw his cap into the ring. And before the night was done, so would Trout, who took home the trophy.

After Chris Sale hit Utley with a pitch in the top of the fourth, speedy Dee Gordon went in to run. That move worked perfectly when Lucroy smacked an opposite-field double to right, scoring Gordon with the tying run.

It turned out not to be a good night for St. Louis pitchers. Pat Neshek took over in the fifth and surrendered consecutive one-out singles to Derek Norris and Alexei Ramirez. Trout then smacked a grounder down the third-base line and past Aramis Ramirez for an RBI double that put the AL back on top.

Washington’s Tyler Clippard took over for Neshek, and Houston’s Jose Altuve greeted him with a sacrifice fly to left to make it a 5-3 game. Before that drive, Clippard fired a high pitch to the backstop but it caromed back to catcher Devin Mesoraco, forcing Alexei Ramirez to temporarily hold at third.

With one down in the sixth, Aramis Ramirez pulled a double into the left-field corner off lefty Scott Kazmir, then moved to third when Gordon grounded out to second. Boston closer Koji Uehara took over and struck out Mesoraco to strand Ramirez and keep it a two-run game.

Rodriguez, pitching much earlier than to which he is accustomed, allowed a two-out walk to Adrian Beltre in the sixth but benefitted from a great play at second by Gordon, who robbed Michael Brantley of a hit on a grounder in the hole.



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