Mike Trout led off the All-Star game with a homer, and became the first player to win the MVP award two years running, as the American League beat the National League 6-3 on Tuesday.
Trout was one of the several young stars which had this game labeled as an All-Star game for a new generation, but the result was familiar, as the AL continued its recent dominance.
The game decides which club team gets home advantage in the World Series, so Tuesday’s result means the AL representative will open the season-deciding series at home.
In an age of dominant pitching, Felix Hernandez, David Price, Zach Britton, Dellin Betances and Wade Davis took scoreless turns in the AL’s third win a row.
A season after the retirement of Derek Jeter dropped the curtain on the turn-of-century greats, the 23-year-old Trout was among six starting position players under 25 – the most since 1965.
The Los Angeles Angels slugger sent Zack Greinke’s fourth pitch – a fastball on the outer half of the plate – over the wall in right field for a homer.
Prince Fielder and Lorenzo Cain had run-scoring hits in the fifth against reigning NL MVP Clayton Kershaw that put the AL up 3-1.
Manny Machado hit a double off the right-field wall against Francisco Rodriguez in the seventh and scored on Fielder’s sacrifice fly. And Brian Dozier hit a solo home run off Mark Melancon in the eighth.
Stars old and young gathered in one of baseball’s most traditional towns. The Cincinnati Reds became baseball’s first professional team in 1869, and players wore caps with horizontal stripes in an attempt at a 19th century feel.
Pete Rose, Cincinnati’s hometown hero and baseball’s career hits leader, was given an 80-second ovation when he walked onto the field before the game to join Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin, elected by fans as the Reds’ greatest players.
Bench later returned with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax, voted by fans as baseball’s great living players. Aaron, 81, and Morgan, 71, needed canes to reach the infield, and Mays, 84, was aided on and off the field by an assistant.
Trout became the first player to homer in the first at-bat of an All-Star Game since 1977 when Morgan produced the feat. Greinke, coming off five scoreless outings with the Los Angeles Dodgers, had not allowed a run since June 13.
”It’s not easy,” Greinke said of pitching to Trout. ”You’ve got like a 2-inch window up in the zone. If you throw it higher than that, he takes it. If you throw it lower he does what he did.”
Dallas Keuchel, the AL starter, gave up the tying run in the second after Paul Goldschmidt led off with a bouncer toward third base and managed to get to second as Josh Donaldson threw wildly. Goldschmidt scored on Buster Posey’s groundout, and Jhonny Peralta, an All-Star again after serving a 50-game drug suspension two years ago, dumped a two-out single into right field.
The AL went back on top in the fifth against Kershaw. Fielder lined a single that scored Trout, who raced home from second to slide in at home plate just ahead of the throw, and Cain pulled the next pitch down the left-field line for an RBI double.
Andrew McCutchen homered off Chris Archer in the sixth, cutting the gap to 3-2, before the AL pulled away again.