July 17, 2013

All-Star Game: A stand-up night for Mariano Rivera

A retiring Mariano Rivera has two standing ovations, a perfect inning and is the MVP, as the American League beats the National League, 3-0.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Mariano Rivera reported for work an inning early and walked off to a fitting tribute.

iguel Cabrera
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David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox congratulates Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers after Cabrera scored on Jose Bautista’s sacrifice fly in the fourth inning of the American League’s 3-0 victory Tuesday.

Photos by The Associated Press

Mariano Rivera
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Mariano Rivera, who will retire from the New York Yankees at the end of the season, acknowledges a standing ovation before pitching a perfect eighth inning. Rivera was named the MVP of the game.

Additional Photos Below


2013: Mariano Rivera, Yankees, AL

2012: Melky Cabrera, San Francisco, NL

2011: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee, NL

2010: Brian McCann, Atlanta, NL

2009: Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay, AL

2008: J.D. Drew, Boston, AL

Called in the eighth to make sure he would pitch in his final All-Star game, the New York Yankees' indomitable closer tossed a perfect inning and soaked up two standing ovations Tuesday night, helping the American League to a 3-0 win over the National League at Citi Field.

Rivera, who took home MVP honors, and nine other pitchers combined on a three-hitter for the AL, which snapped a three-game losing streak and regained home-field advantage in the World Series. Joe Nathan saved it in Rivera's place after the American League scratched out a pair of runs and got an RBI double from Jason Kipnis.

Robinson Cano hobbled off early after getting hit by a pitch from crosstown rival Matt Harvey of the hometown Mets. X-rays were negative and Cano said he shouldn't miss any games for the Yankees.

Harvey and opposing starter Max Scherzer were among a record 39 first-time All-Stars in a game that featured four players 21 or younger -- baseball's next generation.

Both came out throwing 99 mph heat but it was Rivera, at 43 the oldest All-Star since 1991, who was the center of attention in his final season.

He came in from the bullpen to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" just like across town at Yankee Stadium, and was left alone on the field for more than a minute to take in a rousing ovation.

"It was a great moment. He is one of the best pitchers that's ever played this game," Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said.

Players on both sides clapped from the top of the dugout steps and he tipped his cap to the crowd.

Then he went to work, retiring three straight on 16 pitches before walking off to another ovation.

"It was tough. It was special," an emotional Rivera said. "Seeing the fans sharing and both teams standing out of the dugout, managers, coaches, players priceless."

It was the ninth All-Star game in New York -- the most for any city -- and second in five years after a farewell to old Yankee Stadium in 2008. But the only other time the Mets hosted was during Shea Stadium's debut season in 1964, when Philadelphia outfielder Johnny Callison hit a game-ending homer in the ninth.

This one gave the struggling Mets a chance to pack their cozy ballpark for one of the few times all season. Fans chanted Harvey's name during pregame introductions, and the 24-year-old delivered with three strikeouts in two shutout innings.

He walked off to a standing ovation and received a pat on the back from NL Manager Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants, the defending World Series champions.

Harvey was the youngest All-Star starting pitcher since former Mets ace Dwight Gooden was 23 a quarter-century ago, and the first from the home team since Houston's Roger Clemens in 2004. Gooden cheered Harvey on from the stands.

All the buildup might have made the phenom a little too excited at the start. Mike Trout doubled inside first base on his opening pitch, and Harvey drilled Cano just above the right knee with a 96 mph fastball on the third.

In obvious pain, Cano initially stayed in the game but limped off after Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera struck out, just as he did against Harvey in spring training.

Cano crossed in front of the mound while heading to the dugout and Harvey patted himself on the chest.

"I didn't mean to, obviously," Harvey said. "I feel terrible. Apologies go out to him."

Cano has a bruised quadriceps but said he'll be ready to play after the All-Star break.

"Just a little tight," Cano said. "I'll be good for Friday."

Wright went to the mound for a chat with Harvey, who whiffed Jose Bautista to end the inning.

Cano's name came up all night, even after he left. A fan in a Cano shirt ran on the field and gave himself up to security near second base as players backed away, but was tackled anyway

Cabrera's bat slipped out of his hands on a swing and sailed 10-15 rows deep, where it nearly clipped another fan in a Cano jersey.

Cabrera's next cut produced a leadoff double in the fourth, and Bautista's sacrifice fly snapped a 17-inning scoreless streak for the AL dating to two years ago in Arizona.


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Additional Photos

Robinson Cano
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Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees reacts after being hit by a pitch in the first inning. Cano said he’ll be ready to play when the season resumes Friday. The catcher is Yadier Molina of St. Louis.

Miguel Cabrera
click image to enlarge

Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated by Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays after scoring on Bautista’s sacrifice fly during the fourth inning of the American League’s 3-0 victory in the All-Star game at Citi Field in New York.


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