NEW YORK—On a perfect summer evening for baseball, in the sport's most venerable cathedral, with nearly 50 of its all-time greats looking on, the 79th All-Star Game simply didn't want the good times to end.
The longest midsummer classic, time-wise, in history finally halted in the 15th inning on a Michael Young sacrifice fly that scored Justin Morneau and gave the American League a 4-3 victory in the fourth and final All-Star Game played at Yankee Stadium, which closes at season's end.
The victory was the AL's sixth straight, and the sixth consecutive time it has captured home field advantage in the World Series, a caveat implemented after the 11-inning All-Star Game tie in 2002. The AL's 12-game unbeaten streak is the longest in the exhibition's history.
It was only the second time that an All-Star Game has lasted 15 innings -- the other was in 1967-- and it was just the second one that was decided in the final at-bat.
Morneau's slide -- just ahead of the throw from Milwaukee right fielder Corey Hart -- came at 1:37 a.m.
"I was just praying at that point," Young said. "I was about to take a nap right there."
As soon as he hit the ball to medium right, Young said he expected Morneau to dash home.
"I think he was going to try and go if I had popped up to second," Young said. "We were trying anything at that point to push a run across."
The marathon had just about everything, including several bang-bang plays at home plate and three errors made by one player, Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla.
By the time it was done -- a grueling four hours and 50 minutes after the first pitch -- each team had used every available player on its 30-man rosters. Only San Francisco right-hander Tim Lincecum didn't pitch, and that's because he had been taken to the hospital earlier in the day due to flu-like symptoms.
Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir, who had thrown 104 pitches on Sunday afternoon, was the last AL player to be used. He pitched a scoreless inning for the win, and said he probably could have gone one or two more innings.
And who would have gone after him?
"There was nobody else," he said. "Maybe (Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan) Longoria. He's got a good curveball."
Boston Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew, who had two hits in four at-bats, was named the game's Most Valuable Player. His two-run homer in the seventh inning tied the game at 2. Drew became the 15th person to homer in his first All-Star at-bat. He said he also was prepared to pitch if his manager, Terry Francona, needed him.
On a surreal night, Drew had perhaps the most surreal moment: He was cheered by a soldout Yankee Stadium crowd of 55,632 that takes pleasure in razzing the Red Sox.
"It was a little weird," Drew said. "I heard about it when I got back out to right field for sure. Then, as the game went along, I think they forgot I hit a home run and (the insults) picked up again."
If Drew was the official hero, Sherrill was the unsung one. He began warming up in the sixth inning, when the Oakland Athletics' Justin Duchscherer ran into a little trouble. But Duchscherer got out of the jam, and Sherrill sat.
He assumed he wouldn't pitch, but was summoned in the 12th with the bases loaded and two outs.