It's a good thing Mariano Rivera was selected to play in the All-Star Game, because his appearance provided the only memorable moment in this season's mid-summer classic.
Taking the mound to start the bottom of the eighth inning, the New York Yankees' closer had the field all to himself–literally. As the sold-out Citi Field crowd greeted him with a rousing standing ovation, players from both sides spilled out of their dugouts and lined the field to applaud the 43 year old in his final All-Star appearance. Rivera stood alone on the field, tipping his cap to the New York crowd.
"When I got to the mound, I saw both sides, both teams in the dugout, and it was amazing," Rivera said. "It almost made me cry, too. I was close. It was amazing — a scene that I will never forget."
Rivera proceeded to toss a 1-2-3 inning, helping the American League squad to an easy 3-0 victory. The all-time saves leader was given one more medal to adorn his coat of arms, as he was voted the game's MVP. His ERA in nine All-Star game appearances? 0.00.
"This one, I think that the only one that will top this is the World Series," Rivera said. "Besides that, I mean, it has been outstanding. Especially when you are not expecting this. I wanted to pitch. I wanted to come to the game, and since this will be my last one, I wanted to enjoy it and be able to pitch for the last time in the All-Star Game. You know, the rest was indescribable."
While it was only fitting for Mo to receive MVP honors, it could just as easily have been Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale. He picked up the win with two flawless innings–no runs, no hits, no walks, and two strikeouts.
So dominant was AL pitching that the closest thing to a rally the NL could muster was a Paul Goldschmidt double in the ninth inning, their only extra-base hit of the night. Two singles and a walk were their only other baserunners.
National League starter Matt Harvey of the New York Mets worked out of trouble in the first inning, escaping a two-on, no-out jam. Mike Trout opened the game with a double, then Harvey beaned Robinson Cano in the knee. But those would be the only baserunners he allowed as he recovered to throw two scoreless frames, giving up just one hit and fanning three.
Arizona Diamondbacks' starter Patrick Corbin took the loss, giving up a run on two hits in his one inning of work.
"It feels unbelievable," Kipnis said. "It's one thing just to be here, but to be able to contribute to the game as well? What more could you ask for?"
Well, for starters, a few more hits. And Padre fans could ask for their lone representative, Everth Cabrera, to get into the game. Unfortunately, it didn't happen; with so few hits, not everyone had a chance to play. The Atlanta Braves' Brian McCann and the San Francisco Giants' Marco Scutaro also did not see any action.
Cabrera was matter-of-fact about not playing.
"Of course, I wanted to play, but this was my first All-Star Game, and it was a great experience," he said. "Being around all of these All-Stars and taking batting practice with them is awesome. I learned a lot from Scutaro and Carlos Beltran, who told me what kind of routine he does to be that kind of hitter."
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