The President sure can pick 'em.
After getting a pre-game visit from
Obama, who has correctly picked the Steelers to win the Super Bowl and North Carolina to win the NCAA men's basketball championship this season, threw out the first pitch wearing a jacket of the AL's Chicago White Sox, his favorite team, during a brief appearance before a sold out crowd of 46,760. It set the tone for a rapidly played game that clocked in at just 2:31 (the fastest All-Star Game in 21 years), was dominated by pitching and defense and, for the first time since 1999, did not include at least one home run.
The first five American League relief pitchers --
"That's got to be the top play I've ever made," said Crawford, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player. "I don't think I've ever robbed a home run before. I picked a good time to do it tonight."
In the top of the eighth, two first-time All-Stars combined to produce the game-winning run.
"I congratulate him on the fact that he went for three bases," said AL manager
National League leftfielder
The National League finally got some base runners in the eighth, when with two out,
Nathan recovered to strike out pinch-hitter and St. Louis native
While the bullpens excelled, the starting pitchers struggled. The AL jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against
The National League's only offense came in the second against AL starter
But after those four consecutive hits, the NL bats went silent. Hudson's single in the eighth was their only other hit of the game, and 22 of their last 24 batters were retired. "It was definitely a pitcher's game, and they have some horses and the back end of the bullpen is good," said NL manager
The AL tied the game in the fifth on a double by Mauer. They might have gone ahead if not for a pair of impressive diving plays at first by Pujols, who atoned for his earlier error. First he robbed
"That was the best thing I did this week," said Pujols, who had a difficult time living up to his town's enormous expectations. The Game's leading vote-getter was cheered loudly every time his name was announced, but after falling short in the Home Run Derby on Monday, his difficulties at the plate extended to Tuesday, when he went 0-for-3 and failed to hit the ball out of the infield.
"You have the Home Run Derby and also have to catch a pitch from the U.S. President, and, oh, yeah, you have a game to play, as well. I won't use that word, stress. I wish it can be like this for the rest of my career, this stressful. I enjoy it."
Pujols caught the first pitch from Obama, who became the first sitting President to attend an All-Star Game in 17 years, at the end of a long series of pre-game ceremonies. In addition to the Budweiser Clydesdales, Cardinals Hall of Famers
The unique opening soon gave way to the same old story for the NL. With the victory, the American League claimed home field advantage in the World Series for the seventh straight time since it has been at stake in the All-Star Game.
"Any team would want home field advantage," said
The American League has now closed its deficit against the NL to 40-38-2, and its seven-game winning streak is its longest ever. The NL won eight straight from 1963-1970 and 11 in a row from 1972-1982. But it hasn't won one since 1996, and when Papelbon, a four-time All-Star, was asked afterward if he could even remember the last time the National League was victorious in the Midsummer Classic, he thought for a moment and said, "Um...no, I don't. I hope I don't have to witness that for awhile."