Yogi wins 4th All-Star Game in Atlanta for the NL
Atlanta was the scene for a very entertaining 4th annual All-Star game on Monday night. It started off as a pitcher's duel between starters Frank Tanana of the AL and Pascual Perez of the NL as they each faced the minimum three batters in their respective halves of the 1st inning.
Yogi Berra's walk-off 3-Run HR wins the AYL All-Star Game in Atlanta for the NL
In the second inning, AYL HR leader Tony Clark showed the rest of the All-Stars how it's done by mashing Perez's first offering of the inning over the center-field fence. Perez also gave up a single to Jason Giambi later in the inning but escaped without any further damage. In his half of the 2nd, Tanana walked Mickey Mantle but got Daryl Strawberry to ground into a double play. Matt Holliday singled to left but David Justice grounded out to first base to end the inning.
The American League increased their lead in the third as they got to David Cone, who forgot to pack his A-Game, or perhaps left it on the plane. After retiring Toby Harrah on a fly to left, he gave up a triple to Jacoby Ellsbury. Bob Cerv couldn't drive in the run, grounding out to Cone, who held Ellsbury at 3rd before throwing Cerv out at first base. But then the wheels fell off for Cone, as he gave back-to-back-to-back RBI doubles to Alex Rodriguez, Tony Clark, and Reggie Jackson, giving the AL a 4-0 lead before Raul Valdes came on to put out the fire for the NL.
Luis Tiant came on for the AL in the bottom of the 3rd and, apart from a seeing-eye single by Mike Lowell, had little trouble getting out of the inning. Valdes came back out for the NL in the top of the 4th, retiring the AL three-up, three-down including a strikeout of Mike Stanley.
The NL bats came to life in their half of the 4th against Randy Johnson as Lance Berkman led off with a double. Johnson got Mantle to ground out to short, and Strawberry to fly out to shallow left, but then Matt Holiday drove in Berkman with a single to right, and David Justice took Johnson deep over the left-field wall for a 2-run HR, bringing the NL to within a run at 4-3.
The AL got one back in the top of the 5th, as Bob Cerv led off with a triple off Whitey Ford. ARod grounded out but Cerv scored on the play to give the AL a 5-3 lead. Catfish Hunter was on his game, getting the NL out quickly in the bottom of the 5th with a 3-up, 3-down inning. Javier Vazquez matched Hunter in the top of the 6th, getting three straight ground-outs to quiet the AL bats.
The NL knotted the game at 5 in the bottom of the 6th as Mickey Mantle went deep off AL reliever Nick Goody, scoring himself and Berkman, who had singled in his at-bat. The game would stay tied at five through the 7th and 8th innings as relievers for both sides didn't let a single batter reach base through those two very quiet frames.
The ninth inning was a different story, as some early fireworks lit up the Atlanta night sky. First it was the AL's turn, as Tino Martinez, now batting 5th as the AL Designated Hitter, sent a towering shot over the wall in center-field to give the AL the lead. Two batters later, Ivan Rodriguez doubled, and then was driven home by a Wayne Tolleson single to right. Ellsbury hit into a double play to end the inning, but the AL could almost taste a series-tying victory heading into the bottom of the 9th with Jack McDowell heading to the mound.
The NL had different plans for McDowell though. Paul O'Neill started the rally with a single just over McDowell's outstretched glove and barely sneaking between Tolleson and Cano over the second base bag. Jerry Mumphrey of the Cardinals, voted onto the NL team by the AYL owners, then drilled a triple into the right field corner that Danny Tartabull had trouble tracking down. With the tying run at 3rd, McDowell managed to get Jose Cruz to ground out to Wade Boggs, who held Mumphrey at third before retiring Cruz on a strong throw across the diamond. The Atlanta fans were booing wildly after the play, as they thought that Cruz had beaten the throw. Video review was not used, but the replay seemed to show that Cruz had in fact beaten the throw by a hair.
It turned out not to have mattered, though. As Yogi says, "it ain't over until it's over". So true. Berra turned that into a self-fulfilling prophecy as he sent McDowell's next pitch over the wall in left-centerfield for a game-winning, 2-run HR that sent the majority of the fans home happy. Yogi took home the MVP award with one swing of the bat. For more info on the game, send questions to your favorite commish (or 2nd favorite, or 5th favorite, or whatever place I happen to be on your list! lol)
The NL now leads the ALL-STAR series 3 games to 1.
Good luck in the 2nd half to all of you!