Elias Diaz ends NL’s All-Star Game drought with winning homer

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SEATTLE — The streak is mercifully over for the National League

After nine consecutive All-Star Game defeats to the American League, the NL finally snapped the streak with a come-from-behind 3-2 win at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday night

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The AL was nine outs from extending its run of dominance to a full decade when Philadelphia’s Nick Castellanos led off the top of the eighth inning with a walk off Felix Bautista. Pinch-hitter Elias Diaz then drilled the fifth pitch he saw from Baltimore’s closer 360 feet to left field — a homer that earned him MVP honors.

It was the first lead of the game for the NL, whose bullpen threw three scoreless innings to finish the game. That included San Diego’s Josh Hader holding the lead in the eighth inning and Philadelphia’s Craig Kimbrel surviving a 30-pitch ninth to pick up the save.

After Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco flew out to the warning track in right field, Kimbrel struck out Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who had won the Home Run Derby the night before. However, Kimbrel then issued consecutive two-out walks to Houston’s P.J. Tucker and Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez before striking out Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez.

San Francisco’s Camilo Doval pitched a scoreless seventh inning, picking up the win courtesy of the winning homer by Colorado’s catcher.

The AL had pulled ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning when Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette hit a sacrifice fly to score Kansas City’s Salvador Perez, who had singled after entering the game in place of designated hitter Shohei Ohtani. Perez was moved to third on a double by Oakland’s Brent Rooker off Cincinnati closer Alexis Diaz.

The AL took the first lead of the game when Tampa Bay’s Yandy Diaz opened the scoring with a 383-foot home run to left field off Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller in the second inning.

The NL evened the score when Miami’s Luis Arraez, the league’s batting leader, singled home the Dodgers’ J.D. Martinez, who had opened the top of the fourth inning with a double off Seattle right-hander George Kirby. Kirby, who was named to his first All-Star Game as an alternate, was bailed out of further potential trouble when Arraez was caught stealing on a call that was overturned following a challenge by AL manager Dusty Baker

Starting pitchers Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees and Zac Gallen of the Pittsburgh Pirates both pitched scoreless innings, but they accomplished the feats in different manners.

Cole, starting for the AL in his sixth All-Star Game, was taken to the wall twice. The first was by Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr., whose deep shot to right field on the second pitch of the game was snagged on a jump by Texas’ Aroldis Garcia.

Not to be outdone one batter later, Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena made a leaping catch against the left-field wall to rob the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman.

Gallen had a far less eventful time in the bottom of the inning. He retired his first two batters before giving up a single to Arozarena, who was promptly thrown out attempting to steal by Atlanta catcher Sean Murphy.

NOTES: Toronto closer Jordan Romano left with one out in the sixth inning with what AL manager Dusty Baker said was a stiff lower back. … The AL now owns a 47-33-2 advantage in 93 All-Star Games. … This was the second All-Star Game held at T-Mobile Park, with the venue also playing host to the event in 2001, when it was called Safeco Field. … Cole became the 15th consecutive former first-round pick to start the Midsummer Classic. He was selected third overall by Pittsburgh in 2013.

–Field Level Media

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