American League wins 5-3
MINNEAPOLIS – Derek Jeter soaked in the adulation from fans and players during one more game on baseball’s national stage, set the tone for the American League with a pregame speech and then delivered two final All-Star hits.
Mike Trout, perhaps the top candidate to succeed the 40-year-old New York Yankees captain as the face of the game, seemed ready to assume the role with a tiebreaking triple and later a go-ahead double that earned the 22-year-old MVP honors.
On a summer evening filled with reminders of generational change, the AL kept up nearly two decades of dominance by beating the National League 5-3 on Tuesday for its 13th win in 17 years.
“I think let Mike be Mike. I don’t think people have to necessarily appoint someone to a particular position,” Jeter said. “He’s got a bright future ahead of him. I don’t know how much better he can get, but if he consistently does what he’s doing, then he will be here for a long time.”
Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer to help give the AL champion home-field advantage for the World Series.
No matter what else happened, from the start it seemed destined to be another special event for Jeter.
He made a diving stop on Andrew McCutchen’s grounder to shortstop leading off the game and received a 63-second standing ovation when he walked to the plate before his opposite-field double to right leading off the bottom half. Jeter was given another rousing cheer before his single to right starting the third and 2 1/2 minutes more applause after AL manager John Farrell sent Alexei Ramirez to shortstop to replace him at the start of the fourth inning.
As Frank Sinatra’s recording of “New York, New York” boomed over the Target Field speakers and his parents watched from the stands, Jeter repeatedly waved to the crowd, exchanged handshakes and hugs with just about every person in the AL dugout and then came back onto the field for a curtain call.
“It was a special moment and it was unscripted,” Jeter said. “I was unaware of it.”
NL manager Mike Matheny didn’t want it to stop.
“The guys on our side have the utmost respect for him and would like to have been standing out there for a little while longer,” he said. “I think Derek was the one that was uncomfortable with it.”
While not as flashy as Mariano Rivera’s All-Star farewell at Citi Field in New York last year, when all the other players left the Yankees reliever alone on the field for an eighth-inning solo bow, Jeter tried not to make a fuss and to deflect the attention.
Even during his clubhouse speech.
“He just wanted to thank us,” Trout said. “You know, we should be thanking him.”
A 14-time All-Star who was MVP of the 2000 game in Atlanta, Jeter announced in February this will be his final season.
The AL improved to 9-3 since the All-Star game started deciding which league gets World Series home-field advantage; 23 of the last 28 titles were won by teams scheduled to host four of a possible seven games.
Max Scherzer pitched a scoreless fifth for the win, and Glen Perkins got the save in his home ballpark. Perkins’ catcher was Minnesota Twins teammate Kurt Suzuki, a Baldwin High School alumnus, who entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth.
Trout, who finished second to Cabrera in AL MVP voting in each of the last two seasons, became the youngest All-Star MVP, about 3 1/2 months younger than Ken Griffey Jr. was in 1992.
Playing in his third All-Star game, Trout followed Jeter in the first by tripling off the right-field wall. Cabrera’s homer – just the fourth in the last six All-Star games – made it 3-0, but the NL tied it on consecutive RBI doubles by Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy off Jon Lester in the second and Lucroy’s run-scoring double against Chris Sale in the fourth.
Trout put the AL ahead for good with an RBI double in the fifth – a bouncer over third base against Pat Neshek, who grew up in the Minneapolis suburbs and started his career with the Twins. Jose Altuve followed with a sacrifice fly off Tyler Clippard.