The All-Star Game was certainly no home run derby, but Bryce Harper made his appearance in the NL’s 3-0 loss and went 0-2 with a lineout and a popout.
Harper, voted by the fans to be the second-youngest starter in All-Star Game history, began the game playing center field. He was batting ninth in the order, and came up with two outs in the third inning against White Sox lefty Chris Sale. Harper has struggled mightily against lefties this season, but made good contact and hit a line drive that was unfortunately caught by Miguel Cabrera. Harper came up again in the sixth with a runner on first against Oakland As closer Grant Balfour, but popped out to shortstop to end his first All-Star experience. In the field, he made three relatively easy catches in center.
Jordan Zimmermann was also named an All-Star and spent the game in the dugout, but did not pitch due to a stiff neck that had been bothering him. Well known for being stoic and quiet, he cracked a rare smile during his pregame intro. When asked about it postgame, he was back to his old self: “I was happy.”
Harper’s struggles were part of a power outage across the entire NL team, who mustered just three hits in the loss to the American League. Therefore, in accordance with one of baseball’s most questionable traditions, the American League representative in this year’s World Series will have home-field advantage. Yankees closer and greatest reliever in MLB history, Mariano Rivera, was named All-Star MVP as somewhat of a lifetime achievement award to honor his final All-Star Game. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning as the AL led 3-0. Rangers closer Joe Nathan pitched the ninth and got the save, but only because there would have been no bottom of the ninth if the NL had taken the lead in the bottom of the eighth and held on to it. AL manager Jim Leyland wanted to be sure Rivera pitched, so he entered in the eighth to make sure he would have time to do so.
Sale earned the win and Diamondbacks rookie Patrick Corbin took the loss by allowing a run on two hits in his one inning. Cabrera and Orioles CF Adam Jones were both 1-3 with a run scored for the AL, while Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt and Cardinals OF Carlos Beltran were both 1-2 for the NL.