American League 4, National League 3
When: 7:30 PM ET, Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
Special to Digital Sports Desk by Field Level Media
CLEVELAND – Shane Bieber went from a late addition in the 90th All-Star Game to an MVP performance as the American League held on to defeat the National League 4-3 at Progressive Field on Tuesday for its seventh consecutive victory in the showcase game.
The Cleveland Indians right-hander was added to the roster on Friday and told Monday by AL manager Alex Cora that he would pitch the fifth inning. He struck out the side to preserve a 1-0 lead.
“I just wanted to go out there and get three outs and represent the city well,” Bieber said postgame on the FOX broadcast. “This is an unbelievable experience to do this in front of the home crowd. The fans made it easy for me.”
Bieber became the first Indians player to win the All-Star Game MVP since Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1997. That game also was in Cleveland, as the city played host to the All-Star Game for a record sixth time.
The National League made a game of it in the late innings. Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso of the New Mets cut the NL’s deficit to 4-3 with a two-run bases-loaded single in the eighth inning. But Indians left-hander Brad Hand got Milwaukee’s Mike Moustakas to pop out to Chicago White Sox catcher James McCann in foul territory and end the threat.
New York Yankees left-hander Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth for the save.
The AL holds a 45-43-2 advantage in the All-Star Game and has outscored the NL 373-370 all-time.
Michael Brantley of the Houston Astros, who played 10 seasons for the Indians and was an All-Star for the team in 2014, 2017 and 2018, singled in Astros teammate Alex Bregman for a 1-0 AL lead in the second inning. Brantley received a huge ovation in pregame introductions.
“I was trying to hold it together,” he said on the FOX broadcast. “To come back in front of these fans that I played in front of for 10 years, I just want to say thank you.”
The AL went up 2-0 on a run-scoring single from Jorge Polanco of the Minnesota Twins in the fifth inning. Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon cut the deficit to 2-1 in the sixth with a home run to right center for his first hit in nine career All-Star Game at-bats.
“It was nice to get on the board right there,” Blackmon said.
The AL extended the lead to 4-1 in the seventh on a solo homer by Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers.
NL batters struck out 16 times with eight of the nine AL pitchers recording at least one strikeout. On offense, the AL struck out seven times against nine NL pitchers in a game that took 2 hours, 48 minutes to play.
–Field Level Media