Al Tops Nl, 4-3, On Jones' Sacrifice Fly

All-star Game

July 15, 2009|By Dave van Dyck | Dave van Dyck,Tribune Newspapers

ST. LOUIS - - Some things never change.

Presidents appearing at the national pastime's All-Star Game, muggy-warm baseball nights in St. Louis and, of course, the American League winning.

The unbeaten streak reached 13 on Tuesday night - meaning the AL will have home-field advantage, again, in the World Series - with a 4-3 victory over the National League before an announced 46,760 at Busch Stadium.

So it's possible the White Sox could host the Cubs in a Chicago showdown and President Barack Obama might be there to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, as he was Tuesday night.

Obama, wearing a black White Sox jacket, lobbed the pitch to the St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols after warming up in the indoor batting cages.

"One advice I told him, if the ball misses," Pujols said, "it's because of the jacket, White Sox."

While Obama was the pre-game show, the heroes later were the Detroit Tigers' Curtis Granderson and the Orioles' Adam Jones, two All-Star rookies who combined for an eighth-inning run that broke a tie at 3 and made a winner of Jonathan Papelbon.

Granderson tripled off Heath Bell with one out and scored on Jones' sacrifice fly to right field. The New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera nailed down the victory in the ninth inning.

"Congrats to [Granderson] on going for three bases," winning manager Joe Maddon said. "He went for three, which puts an entirely different attitude on the other side of what they can do.

"That was the big play, that he had the want-to to go for three."

The NL had a 3-2 lead after the second inning, but the AL tied it in the fifth off the Los Angeles Dodgers' Chad Billingsley when Joe Mauer doubled home Derek Jeter.

By then, starting pitchers Roy Halladay of the AL and Tim Lincecum of the NL were long gone. And so was the White Sox's Mark Buehrle, who pitched a perfect third.

The Tampa Bay Rays' Carl Crawford was named the game's Most Valuable Player, mostly for a catch of a fly ball Brad Hawpe hit to lead off the seventh inning. Crawford leaped at the fence and came down with the ball in left-center field.

"Yeah, it was over the wall," Crawford said. "It would have been a home run.

"That has to be my top play; I don't think I've ever robbed anyone of a home run before. I picked a good time do it."

It was an ugly first inning for the NL as it fell behind 2-0.

The first two AL batters reached base, Ichiro Suzuki on a single and Jeter when he was hit by a pitch from Lincecum.

And then came the ultimate embarrassment for Cardinals fans. After greeting Pujols in pre-game introductions with chants of "MVP," they were silent when he committed an error that allowed the first run to score. The second run scored on Josh Hamilton's fielder's-choice grounder.

It wasn't long before the NL had the lead, however, as the AL also was charged with an error in a three-run second inning off Halladay.

David Wright and Shane Victorino singled, with Wright scoring on a single by Molina and Victorino on a throwing error by center fielder Hamilton. The other run off Halladay came on Prince Fielder's pinch-hit double.

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