Royals Hosmer, Perez Help AL Top NL for 4th Straight Year


SAN DIEGO – These are high times for the Kansas City Royals. They have been to the last two World Series and won the whole thing last year.
The Royals’ run of success continued in the 87th All-Star Game on Tuesday night as two of their players drove in all the runs in the American League’s 4-2 win over the National League at Petco Park.
The AL has won four straight Midsummer Classics and will have home-field advantage in the World Series.
If the Royals, currently lurking seven games back in the AL Central, rally to make their third straight World Series they can thank Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez for helping set them up with the home-field advantage. Hosmer, the AL’s starting first baseman, drove in a pair of runs with a solo homer in the second inning and an RBI single in the third.
Two batters after Hosmer’s home run in the second, Perez clouted a two-run homer. Both home runs came off NL starter and losing pitcher Johnny Cueto.
Hosmer was the game’s MVP.
The Phillies had just one representative, outfielder Odubel Herrera, in the game. He entered in center field in the fifth inning and flied out to center field in his only at-bat.
Herrera was one of 34th first-time All-Stars in the game.
Houston Astros closer Will Harris was one of those first-timers. He made a huge contribution to the AL win when he was summoned into a bases-loaded situation with two outs in the top of the eighth inning and his team clinging to a two-run lead. With the game on the line, Harris struck out St. Louis’ Aledmys Diaz looking at a full-count fastball to end the threat and leave the bases full.
Zach Britton, the majors’ saves leader with 27, closed it out for the AL.
This was third All-Star Game held in San Diego, and first at Petco Park, the city’s picturesque downtown ballpark. The 1978 and 1992 All-Star Games were played at Jack Murphy Stadium in the Mission Valley section of the city.
This All-Star week turned into a well-deserved tribute to the hometown Padres’ all-time greatest player, Tony Gwynn. The eight-time NL batting champion died of cancer two years ago at the age of 54. Before the game, Major League Baseball announced that it had named the annual award for the NL batting champion in Gwynn’s honor. MLB announced that the award for the AL batting champion had been named in honor of Rod Carew, a seven-time AL batting champ.
Carew was on the field for a pregame ceremony along with Gwynn’s family. Tony Gwynn Jr., who was a member of the Phillies when his father died, was on the field with his family.
San Diego is a hotbed of baseball talent. The Phillies’ No. 1 pick in the recent June draft, outfielder Mickey Moniak, is a product of the San Diego suburbs. This All-Star Game represented a homecoming for a number of players, including Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who played his college ball at the University of San Diego.
Bryant provided the game’s first run with a laser-beam, first-pitch home run into the left-field seats against lefty Chris Sale with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. Bryant was sitting fastball and got one. He did not miss the 96-mph heater in giving the NL a 1-0 lead that did not last long.
Former Phillies ace Cole Hamels, now with the Texas Rangers, was raised in San Diego. His parents attended the 1992 All-Star Game, but eight-year-old Cole stayed home. He was an honored participant in this one. He pitched a scoreless third inning for the AL club. Hamels did so with eight stitches in his chin, the result of tumble he took in his hotel room at 5 a.m.
This was Hamels’ fourth All-Star Game. It was Boston slugger David Ortiz’s 10th and final All-Star Game. The 40-year-old, a three-time World Series champion, will retire at season’s end. He grounded out and walked in two plate appearances. The entire AL team came out of the dugout and honored Ortiz with handshakes and man-hugs as he left the game after a walk in the third inning.
Ortiz gave the AL team a motivational speech before the game.
“I kind of stuttered a little bit,” he said.
But his team did not sputter. The American League is the All-Star Game winner for a fourth straight year.

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