AL nabs home-field advantage, shuts out NL, 3-0

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The 2013 edition of the Midsummer Classic was just that – a classic.

A classic pitchers’ duel, that is.

On a warm, steamy night in Flushing, N.Y., the American League pulled out a 3-0 victory in the over the National League in the All-Star Game at the Mets’ Citi Field to take back home-field advantage in Major League Baseball’s World Series. The AL had lost three consecutive years, pinning its World Series representative on the road the first two games of the series.

The win brings the all-time series record to 43-39-2 in favor the NL.

In a word, the AL pitching staff was dominant. The Junior Circuit allowed just three hits and one walk to its Senior Circuit counterparts, while striking out eight. The last time the AL shutout the NL was 1990, a game that was played at Wrigley Field. In that game, the NL only had two hits.

The AL got its first run in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Toronto's Jose Bautista to score the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera. An inning later, the AL doubled its lead, getting a run on a fielder’s choice. The Orioles' Adam Jones came home from third as teammate J.J. Hardy beat out a double-play ball at first.

Cleveland's Jason Kipnis hit a ground-rule double to score the Royals' Salvador Perez in the eighth for the final run of the game.

What this year's win means for the Boston Red Sox (58-39), the best team in the AL, is that if they can reach the Fall Classic in October, they would host the first two games at Fenway Park, and the final two, if necessary. In the Sox previous two World Championships, the AL was also the winner of the All-Star Game as the road team at a National League stadium. In 2004, Houston hosted the All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park, with the AL winning 9-4. In 2007, it was at San Francisco's AT&T Park and the AL was victorious 5-4.

Speaking of the Red Sox, two of them made appearances in the game this year. David Ortiz received the most votes among candidates for designated hitter and started at DH. Dustin Pedroia, who was a backup to Yankee Robinson Cano, was inserted three batters in after Cano was plunked on his right leg in his first at-bat.

Cano remained in the game as a base runner for one batter, but was removed for precautionary reasons when his leg began hurting. It was later announced that he has a right quadriceps contusion and is expected to be good to go this weekend when New York visits Boston for the first time this season.

The two Red Sox players didn’t fare well, with Ortiz going 0-for-2 with a fly out to center field and grounding into a double play, both on 0-2 pitches. Pedroia was also 0-for-2, lining out to right field off the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and striking out looking against the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez.

In a bit of future-thinking, it may turn out to be a good thing that Pedroia faced Kershaw. The Red Sox make another trip out west to take on the Dodgers in August and could wind up facing the lefty phenom. Pedroia now has something to take with him back to Boston to tell his teammates about what to expect should they face him.

The Red Sox other All-Star selection was Clay Buchholz, who was in attendance at Citi Field, did not pitch in the game. He is rehabbing a neck injury, which has kept him out several weeks.

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