AL Triples Its Pleasure in 9th

Times Staff Writer

The baseball season, the era even, leans to the American League, where even the cursed within it are collecting World Series trophies.

So it was with two out in the top of the ninth inning of the 77th All-Star game on Tuesday night, the bases empty, a closer with 460 career saves looking for one more good pitch, the National League sure it was that close to recovery.

And it was, again, where the Nationals' fortunes went bad.

Three consecutive hits by the Americans, the last a two-run triple by Michael Young against Trevor Hoffman, gave them a 3-2 victory at PNC Park, extending their mid-summer's authority to a full decade.

Their previous run had come seven innings before, on Vladimir Guerrero's opposite-field home run off Nationals starter Brad Penny, on a chin-high fastball Guerrero rode into the right-field seats.

Mariano Rivera pitched the final three outs, finishing what Hoffman failed to a half-inning earlier.

The American League is 9-0-1 since losing in Philadelphia in 1996. The tie four years ago in Milwaukee became the inspiration for granting World Series home-field advantage to the All-Star winner, and the American League has won two of the three series since, sweeping them both.

In fact, the Americans, boasting the game's top four payrolls, four 50-game winners and all the momentum that it brings, were somewhat astounded that defeat was so near.

Said Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox manager serving as AL manager: "When we got to the ninth, and I see my first two guys ... went out real quick, I was turning to my coach and saying, 'Why me? Why do I have to lose this game?'"

As the words left his mouth, Paul Konerko singled to right field. Troy Glaus lined a double to left field, the ball bouncing into the stands, the ground rule holding pinch-runner Jose Lopez at third base. The Americans still trailed, 2-1.

Then, Young, a three-time All-Star and last season's AL batting champion for the Texas Rangers, fell behind to Hoffman, 0 and 2. At 38, Hoffman has little fastball left, but possesses a devious changeup that has carried him to 24 saves this season, and into second place on the all-times saves list behind Lee Smith.

Young, however, had no thoughts either way, fastball or changeup.

"I'm just looking for contact there," he said. "I'm thinking about reacting, using my hands, putting something in play. Anything works right there."

The fastball arrived low, and the right-handed hitter lashed it into right-center field, and the pro-National League crowd groaned as Lopez and Glaus scored the tying and go-ahead runs.

"Two quick outs," said NL Manager Phil Garner, whose Houston Astros lost to Guillen's White Sox in four games last October. "I couldn't have scripted it any better. We had the lead. You're going to turn it over to Trevor Hoffman, who has been golden over the years."

In fact, Garner told Hoffman just that afterward in his office, while the two shook hands and said something along the lines of "We'll get 'em next time."

"It was an honor for me," Garner said to Hoffman.

As it was, both managers got to give the ball to their closers with a lead, and only Rivera was golden.

Hoffman regretted the fastball, saying it "should have been a changeup."

"I caught a little more of the plate than I wanted," he said. "That's why Mariano is so good; he went out and got it done."

Pirates favorite Freddy Sanchez, who'd delighted the crowd with two defensive plays earlier, grounded out against Rivera. Carlos Beltran reached on an error. Ryan Howard, Monday night's home run derby winner, grounded to second base. And Carlos Lee popped to second base.

"I've seen a lot of baseball," Rivera said. "Things like that happen a lot."

He smiled and raised his eyebrows, and added, "It just happened like that. So quick."

The lowest-scoring game since the leagues combined for five runs in 2001 -- four of them by the Americans, of course -- began with Penny. He struck out the side in the first inning, Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter and David Ortiz in a row, when his fastball touched 99 mph.

Penny left the ballpark without talking to print reporters, but those who faced him said the radar readings appeared accurate. Guerrero's home run came on a fastball that showed 98.

"That was legit," said Jeter, who saw seven pitches from Penny, one of them at 99 and three at 98. "Actually, I think the gun was a little slow."

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

L.A. Stars

How the Dodgers and Angels did Tuesday night in the All-Star game:

VLADIMIR GUERRERO, ANGELS

* Hit a solo homer to right field in the second inning and fouled out to third base in the fifth.

BRAD PENNY, DODGERS

* Struck out the side (Suzuki, Jeter, Ortiz) in the first inning. Gave up Guerrero's homer in the second.

NOMAR GARCIAPARRA, DODGERS

* Did not play.

*

PLAY BY PLAY

FIRST INNING: AL 0, NL 0

* American League: Brad Penny pitching. Ichiro Suzuki struck out swinging. Derek Jeter struck out swinging. David Ortiz struck out looking.

No runs, no hits, no errors, none left.

* National League: Kenny Rogers pitching. Alfonso Soriano flied out to right fielder Suzuki. Carlos Beltran doubled to left. Albert Pujols popped out to shortstop Jeter. Jason Bay struck out swinging.

No runs, one hit, no errors, one left.

SECOND INNING: AL 1, NL 1

* American League: Alex Rodriguez grounded out to shortstop Edgar Renteria. Vladimir Guerrero homered to right. Ivan Rodriguez lined out to second baseman Chase Utley. Vernon Wells flied out to center fielder Beltran.

One run, one hit, no errors, none left.

* National League: Renteria grounded out to pitcher Rogers. David Wright homered to left. Utley hit infield single to shortstop. Paul Lo Duca grounded into double play, Utley out at second, Rogers to Jeter to Ortiz.

One run, two hits, no errors, none left.

THIRD INNING: NL 2, AL 1

* American League: Roy Oswalt pitching. Mark Loretta grounded out to first baseman Pujols. Magglio Ordonez, pinch-hitting for Rogers, struck out swinging. Suzuki lined out to right fielder Bay.

No runs, no hits, no errors, none left.

* National League: Roy Halladay pitching. Matt Holliday, pinch-hitting for Oswalt, grounded out to shortstop Jeter. Soriano singled to left. Soriano stole second. Beltran singled to center, Soriano out at home, Beltran to second on throw. Beltran stole third. Beltran scored on Halladay's wild pitch. Pujols struck out swinging.

One run, two hits, no errors, none left.

FOURTH INNING: NL 2, AL 1

* American League: Brandon Webb pitching. Bay in left field. Holliday in right field. Jeter struck out swinging. Ortiz fouled out to third baseman Wright. A. Rodriguez grounded out to shortstop Renteria.

No runs, no hits, no errors, none left.

* National League: Bay singled to center. Renteria grounded into double play, Bay out at second, Loretta to Jeter to Ortiz. Wright grounded out to shortstop Jeter.

No runs, one hit, no errors, none left.

FIFTH INNING: NL 2, AL 1

* American League: Bronson Arroyo pitching. Freddy Sanchez at shortstop. Guerrero fouled out to third baseman Wright. I.Rodriguez flied out to center fielder Beltran. Wells singled to left. Loretta lined out to shortstop Sanchez.

No runs, one hit, no errors, one left.

* National League: Barry Zito pitching. Joe Mauer catching. Michael Young at second base. Gary Matthews Jr. in left field. Grady Sizemore in center field. Utley popped out to second baseman Young. Lo Duca grounded out to third baseman A.Rodriguez. Holliday flied out to left fielder Matthews.

No runs, no hit, no errors, none left.

SIXTH INNING: NL 2, AL 1

* American League: Brian Fuentes pitching. Brian McCann catching. Sanchez at second base. David Eckstein at shortstop. Sizemore struck out swinging. Suzuki grounded out to shortstop Eckstein. Jeter grounded out to third baseman Wright.

No runs, no hit, no errors, none left.

* National League: Scott Kazmir pitching. Jermaine Dye in right field. Miguel Tejada at shortstop. Paul Konerko at first base. Troy Glaus at third base. Sanchez grounded out to shortstop Tejada. Beltran flied out to left fielder Matthews. Pujols flied out to center fielder Sizemore.

No runs, no hit, no errors, none left.

SEVENTH INNING: NL 2, AL 1

* American League: Derrick Turnbow pitching. Ryan Howard at first base. Konerko singled to center. Glaus grounded into double play, Konerko out at second, Wright to Sanchez to Howard. Young flied out to right fielder Bay.

No runs, one hit, no errors, none left.

* National League: Johan Santana pitching. Bay struck out swinging. Lance Berkman, pinch-hitting for Turnbow, walked. Wright grounded into double play, Berkman out at second, Young to Tejada to Konerko.

No runs, no hits, no errors, none left.

EIGHTH INNING: NL 2, AL 1

* American League: Tom Gordon pitching. Carlos Lee in left field. Miguel Cabrera at third base. Mauer struck out swinging. Matthews singled to left. Jim Thome, pinch-hitting for Santana, grounded out to second baseman Sanchez, Matthews to second. Sizemore grounded out to second baseman Sanchez.

No runs, one hit, no errors, one left.

* National League: B.J. Ryan pitching. McCann grounded out to shortstop Tejada. Eckstein struck out swinging. Holliday lined out to third baseman Glaus.

No runs, no hits, no errors, none left.

NINTH INNING: AL 3, NL 2

* American League: Trevor Hoffman pitching. Dye grounded out to pitcher Hoffman. Tejada grounded out to Hoffman. Konerko singled to left. Jose Lopez pinch-ran for Konerko. Glaus hit ground-rule double to left, Lopez to third. Young tripled to center, Lopez scored, Glaus scored. Mauer grounded out to Hoffman.

Two runs, three hits, no errors, one left.

* National League: Mariano Rivera pitching. Lopez at third base. Glaus at first base. Sanchez grounded out to third baseman Lopez. Beltran safe at first on fielding error by third baseman Lopez. Howard grounded out to second baseman Young, Beltran to second. Lee popped out to second baseman Young.

No runs, no hits, one error, one left.

*

Most valuable players

2006 -- Michael Young, Texas, AL

2005 -- Miguel Tejada, Baltimore, AL

2004 -- Alfonso Soriano, Texas, AL

2003 -- Garret Anderson, Angels, AL

2002 -- None

2001 -- Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore, AL

2000 -- Derek Jeter, N.Y., AL

1999 -- Pedro Martinez, Boston, AL

1998 -- Roberto Alomar, Baltimore, AL

1997 -- Sandy Alomar Jr., Cleveland, AL

1996 -- Mike Piazza, Dodgers, NL

1995 -- Jeff Conine, Florida, NL

1994 -- Fred McGriff, Atlanta, NL

1993 -- Kirby Puckett, Minnesota, AL

1992 -- Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle, AL

1991 -- Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore, AL

1990 -- Julio Franco, Texas, AL

1989 -- Bo Jackson, K.C., AL

1988 -- Terry Steinbach, Oakland, AL

1987 -- Tim Raines, Montreal, NL

1986 -- Roger Clemens, Boston, AL

1985 -- LaMarr Hoyt, San Diego, NL

1984 -- Gary Carter, Montreal, NL

1983 -- Fred Lynn, Angels, AL

1982 -- Dave Concepcion, Cin., NL

1981 -- Gary Carter, Montreal, NL

1980 -- Ken Griffey, Cincinnati, NL

1979 -- Dave Parker, Pittsburgh, NL

1978 -- Steve Garvey, Dodgers, NL

1977 -- Don Sutton, Dodgers, NL

1976 -- George Foster, Cincinnati, NL

1975 -- Bill Madlock, Chicago, NL, and Jon Matlack, N.Y., NL

1974 -- Steve Garvey, Dodgers, NL

1973 -- Bobby Bonds, S.F., NL

1972 -- Joe Morgan, Cincinnati, NL

1971 -- Frank Robinson, Baltimore, AL

1970 -- Carl Yastrzemski, Boston, AL

1969 -- Willie McCovey, S.F., NL

1968 -- Willie Mays, S.F., NL

1967 -- Tony Perez, Cincinnati, NL

1966 -- Brooks Robinson, Baltimore, AL

1965 -- Juan Marichal, S.F., NL

1964 -- John Callison, Philadelphia, NL

1963 -- Willie Mays, S.F., NL

1962 -- x-Maury Wills, Dodgers, NL

1962 -- x-Leon Wagner, Angels, AL

x-two games

Source: Associated Press

*

Results

2006 -- American, 3-2

2005 -- American, 7-5

2004 -- American, 9-4

2003 -- American, 7-6

2002 -- Tied 7-7, 11 innings

2001 -- American, 4-1

2000 -- American, 6-3

1999 -- American, 4-1

1998 -- American, 13-8

1997 -- American, 3-1

1996 -- National, 6-0

1995 -- National, 3-2

1994 -- National, 8-7, 10 innings

1993 -- American, 9-3

1992 -- American, 13-6

1991 -- American, 4-2

1990 -- American, 2-0

1989 -- American, 5-3

1988 -- American, 2-1

1987 -- National, 2-0, 13 innings

1986 -- American, 3-2

1985 -- National, 6-1

1984 -- National, 3-1

1983 -- American, 13-3

1982 -- National, 4-1

1981 -- National, 5-4

1980 -- National, 4-2

1979 -- National, 7-6

1978 -- National, 7-3

1977 -- National, 7-5

1976 -- National, 7-1

1975 -- National, 6-3

1974 -- National, 7-2

1973 -- National, 7-1

1972 -- National, 4-3, 10 innings

1971 -- American, 6-4

1970 -- National, 5-4, 12 innings

1969 -- National, 9-3

1968 -- National, 1-0

1967 -- National, 2-1, 15 innings

1966 -- National, 2-1, 10 innings

1965 -- National, 6-5

1964 -- National, 7-4

1963 -- National, 5-3

1962 -- National, 3-1

1962 -- American, 9-4

1961 -- Tied 1-1, 9 innings, rain

1961 -- National, 5-4, 10 innings

1960 -- National, 5-3

1960 -- National, 6-0

1959 -- National, 5-4

1959 -- American, 5-3

1958 -- American, 4-3

1957 -- American, 6-5

1956 -- National, 7-3

1955 -- National, 6-5, 12 innings

1954 -- American, 11-9

1953 -- National, 5-1

1952 -- National, 3-2, 5 inn., rain

1951 -- National, 8-3

1950 -- National, 4-3, 14 innings

1949 -- American, 11-7

1948 -- American, 5-2

1947 -- American, 2-1

1946 -- American, 12-0

1945 -- No Game

1944 -- National, 7-1

1943 -- American, 5-3

1942 -- American, 3-1

1941 -- American, 7-5

1940 -- National, 4-0

1939 -- American, 3-1

1938 -- National, 4-1

1937 -- American, 8-3

1936 -- National, 4-3

1935 -- American, 4-1

1934 -- American, 9-7

1933 -- American, 4-2

Source: Associated Press

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
73°