A late rally by the National League was not enough in last night’s All-Star Game in Detroit, as the A.L. topped the N.L. 7-5.
Cardinal first baseman Albert Pujols got a two-out single in the first inning off White Sox starter and St. Louis native Mark Buehrle, but was left on base by Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, who struck out to end the inning. Lee, who’s battling for the Triple Crown this season was the top vote-getter and edged out Pujols, who was the starting D.L., for the starting job at first base. Buehrle, who got the win, became the first St. Louisan to start an All-Star Game since Jerry Reuss did it in 1975 with the Pirates. He lasted two inning s and allowed no runs off three hits and three strikeouts.
In the bottom of the first, Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter, who got the start, worked around a one-out single from Alex Rodriguez and escaped without allowing a run. Manny Ramirez grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Carpenter was replaced by Braves pitcher John Smoltz, who allowed a lead-off home run to Miguel Tejada to give the American League a 1-0 lead. Tejada drove in two runs on the night and was named the All-Star M.V.P.
The A.L. eventually took a 7-0 lead before the N.L. got on the board in the seventh inning thanks to Braves outfielder Andruw Jones, who hit a two-run homer off Rangers starter Kenny Rogers. Marlins outfielder Miguel Cabrera cut the lead to 7-3 with a double in the eighth inning to score Moises Alou of the Giants.
The final two runs of the game came through in the ninth inning when Luis Gonzalez of the Diamondbacks and Carlos Lee of the Brewers drove in runs with doubles.
Pujols finished 1-for-2, while Jim Edmonds, who started in center field, was 0-for-1 with a walk. Scott Rolen, who was voted in as the starting National League third baseman, sat out of the festivities with shoulder problems and was replaced by Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg. Cardinals’ shortstop David Eckstein went 0-for-2. Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen was selected to the National League squad but did not play.
Cardinals skipper Tony LaRussa was the manager for the National League and was attempting to set a record by winning this third straight All-Star Game. He won three straight from 1989-1991, during his tenure with the A’s. The American League has now won eight-straight All-Star Games.
The Royals’ lone representative at the All-Star Game was first baseman/designated hitter, Mike Sweeney. In the seventh inning, Sweeney struck out in his only at-bat. It was his fifth trip to the All-Star game, which is the second-most in franchise history.