Game stoppage: 7-7 tie

Baseball opts to call game after 11th inning, creating 2nd tie in All-Star history

AL, NL run out of pitchers

Bonds, Soriano hit HRs

Vizquel's RBI triple in 8th inning had tied it

All-star Game

July 10, 2002|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

MILWAUKEE - The 73rd All-Star Game had everything you could want in a Midseason Classic - lots of runs, lots of hits and a couple of bonus innings, which isn't bad when you paid $175 for your seat.

What it didn't have was an outcome.

The game went into extra innings and both the American League and National League teams ran short of pitching, prompting hometown baseball commissioner Bud Selig to huddle with the managers and umpires and order the game to be called after 11 innings with the score tied 7-7.

The announcement was made over the public-address system in the bottom of the 11th, as the National League tried to scratch out a decisive run. The sellout crowd of 41,871 booed loud and long, then broke into a lusty chant.

"Let them play! Let them play!"

No such luck.

What a perfect allegory for a season threatened by a possible work stoppage.

The one baseball event that is devoted almost entirely to the fans was called off after a meeting of baseball management.

Too bad, because it really was an entertaining evening.

"I want to take this opportunity to apologize to the fans," Selig said after the second tie in All-Star history. "Their frustration was understandable. The two managers - Bob Brenly and Joe Torre - came to me and said they were out of players and out of pitchers."

Selig is certain to take some criticism for the decision, but it was made in consultation with the two managers as well as MLB's vice president of baseball operations, Sandy Alderson. Torre and Brenly both jumped to Selig's defense after the game.

"The last thing I want to do is get a pitcher hurt," Torre said, "and send [the Seattle Mariners'] Freddy Garcia back to Lou Piniella hurt. We all dread something like this happening. That's why you save a pitcher. I apologize, but in making the plan to play the All-Star Game, getting all the players into the game was very important to me."

This year's All-Star celebration was tempered by a lingering steroid scandal and growing labor unrest, but baseball's storied history was on full display in a lengthy pre-game ceremony that celebrated the sport's greatest moments and many of the players who took part in them.

Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Cal Ripken were among the baseball legends introduced in an emotional scene reminiscent of the farewell ceremony at Memorial Stadium. There also were tributes to St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile, broadcaster Jack Buck and Boston Red Sox icon Ted Williams, all of whom died in the past month.

It was enough to make National League starting pitcher Curt Schilling question the priorities of everyone involved in baseball's labor dispute.

"At times like this, it's very hard to see us doing what we're doing to the game on both sides," he said. "It's the greatest game in the world. You know, bringing out the emotions the last two nights that this game has brought out in the fans, I can't tell you what it feels like to be a part of that, and to make people feel that way about the sport that you play. It's pretty special."

The sellout crowd didn't have to wait long for the game's first magic moment. Home run king Barry Bonds launched a towering drive to right-center field in the first inning that seemed destined for the American League bullpen, but Minnesota Twins center fielder Torii Hunter made a fabulous leaping catch to rob him - at least temporarily - of his second career All-Star home run.

"It was amazing," said AL starting pitcher Derek Lowe of the Red Sox. "I've never pitched here before, so I had no idea where that was going to go, and he makes a fantastic play. That's what people come here to see, and it was just a great play."

Bonds, who was not a factor in Monday night's Home Run Derby, accepted this latest setback in good humor. He waited for Hunter to come in from the outfield and playfully hoisted him on his shoulders to the delight of the fans.

It wouldn't be long before the San Francisco Giants slugger got to complete his home run trot. He came up again in the third inning and lined a 3-0 pitch from the Toronto Blue Jays' Roy Halladay off the faM-gade of the second deck in right field, the two-run homer giving the National League a 4-0 lead.

The NL squad had taken the lead in the second inning, in spite of a bad base-running decision by Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa, who led off with a single only to get thrown out at third on a base hit to left by Vladimir Guerrero of the Montreal Expos.

The book says you should never make the first or third out of an inning at third base, but Guerrero took second on the play and the National League salvaged a run on a balk by Lowe and a run-scoring groundout by New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza.

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins opened the third inning with an infield single and would come around to score the second run of the game on an RBI single by Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton before Bonds returned to the plate to exact vengeance for Hunter's flashy catch.

The American League finally got on the board in the fourth inning on a run-scoring single by the Red Sox's Manny Ramirez, then narrowed the NL lead to two runs on a long home run by New York Yankees phenom Alfonso Soriano in the fifth.

Diamondbacks catcher Damien Miller came right back with a run-scoring double in the bottom of the fifth, but the American League rocked Arizona closer Byung-Hyun Kim in a four-run seventh to take the lead for the first time, 6-5.

Kim relieved the Atlanta Braves' Mike Remlinger and surrendered three straight hits, including a go-ahead two-run double to Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko.

Kim's teammates got him off the hook again. The National League jumped right back on top in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run single by Houston Astros slugger Lance Berkman, but no lead was safe last night.

Cleveland Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel tripled home the Detroit Tigers' Robert Fick to tie the game at 7 in the eighth.

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