Cano lifts AL to vic­tory in MLB All-Star Game

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Robin­son Cano hugged Fran­cisco Lin­dor after the fi­nal out, ex­changed high­fives with his Amer­i­can League team­mates and put an arm around the shoul­der of des­ig­nated hit­ter/pho­tog­ra­pher Nel­son Cruz. Win­ning the All-Star Game still seemed to mat­ter, even if it didn’t mean World Se­ries home field.

Cano home­red off Cubs closer Wade Davis lead­ing off the 10th in­ning and the AL beat the Na­tional League 2-1 Tues­day night for its fifth straight vic­tory in a game dom­i­nated by this era’s flame-throw­ers, rather than its stand­out slug­gers.

At 34, the Seat­tle sec­ond base­man was among the old­est play­ers in an event built around so many of the sport’s new, young stars, and he was added to the ros­ter only Fri­day as an in­jury re­place­ment. At that time, he didn’t re­al­ize base­ball play­ers and own­ers had scrapped the rule giv­ing home-field ad­van­tage in the Fall Clas­sic to the league that wins the Mid­sum­mer Clas­sic.

“When I found out, I said, I might get an at-bat,” Cano re­called. Cano earned the MVP honor with his one clutch swing. He sent a hang­ing curve off the back wall of the right-field bullpen, then blew a bub­ble with his gum when round­ing the bases.

He re­mem­bered telling his dad: “I’m not picked - like the last one. If I play, it’s great,” he said. Cano hip-bumped Cruz on the way back the dugout, then was joined by jump­ing, hop­ping and high-fiv­ing team­mates on the bench. For good mea­sure, they doused Cano with sun­flower seeds and fanned him with tow­els.

Craig Kim­brel wig­gled out of a jam in the ninth and right fielder Justin Up­ton made a lung­ing catch in the 10th to help the AL. And for the first time since 1964, the ri­valry is back to all even - 43 wins apiece with two ties, and each side has scored ex­actly 361 runs.

Cleve­land closer An­drew Miller fin­ished off the win. Man­ager Brad Mills, tak­ing over the AL squad be­cause In­di­ans skip­per Terry Fran­cona was re­cov­er­ing from a heart pro­ce­dure last week, was thrilled.

“The last thing we wanted to do was get pitch­ers in that shouldn’t prob­a­bly be in the game, and risk an in­jury or some­thing,” Mills said. Cano’s homer came ex­actly 50 years after the pre­vi­ous All-Star ex­train­ning homer, when Tony Perez hit a tiebreak­ing 15th-in­ning shot off Cat­fish Hunter in the NL’s 2-1 win at Ana­heim, Cal­i­for­nia. Perez, now a Mar­lins ex­ec­u­tive, was among eight Latin-born Hall of Famers who threw out cer­e­mo­nial first pitches. Miguel Sano put the AL ahead in the fifth with a bloop RBI sin­gle down the right-field line against Alex Wood. Yadier Molina tied it in the sixth with a home run off Ervin San­tana and two days be­fore his 35th birth­day be­came the old­est catcher with an All-Star long ball.

Molina, wear­ing a shiny gold hel­met and chest pro­tec­tor, had just en­tered be­hind the plate in the top half and snapped off an All-Star first - Cruz pulled a phone out of his uni­form pants and asked the catcher to shoot pho­tos of him with um­pire Joe West, who last month be­came just the third ump to work 5,000 big league games. “I would bet if the game had counted, he would not have done that,” NL man­ager Joe Mad­don said. Molina took the re­quest in stride. “It was weird, huh? It was funny, too,” he said. “I said: Are you se­ri­ous? He was. So I did it.”

Cruz had planned a sim­i­lar stunt for the 2013 but said he couldn’t do it. “This time, if I had to take a pic­ture with some­one it was Joe West. He’s the leg­end,” Cruz ex­plained. “He said, ‘Come on get out of here, what are you do­ing?’ Then he said, ‘Yeah, yeah. Let’s do it.’” West couldn’t be­lieve what was hap­pen­ing.

“I’ve never seen that be­fore - ever,” he said. “That’s the first time I ever think I’ve been speech­less on a field.” Davis wasn’t with the Cubs last fall when they won the World Se­ries for the first time in 108 years. He was ac­quired in a trade from Kansas City to for­tify the bullpen, and was the only Cubs player in this show­case. Chicago has strug­gled this sea­son, go­ing into the break at 43-45.—AP

MI­AMI: Robin­son Cano #22 of the Seat­tle Mariners and the Amer­i­can League cel­e­brates with the Ma­jor League Base­ball All-Star Game Most Valu­able Player Award after they de­feated the Na­tional League 2 to 1 dur­ing the 88th MLB All-Star Game at Mar­lins Park on Tues­day in Mi­ami, Florida. — AFP

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