Pat Neshek Sticks to Normal Script as a Phillie With Scoreless Inning in All-Star Game


MIAMI -- Pat Neshek spent the first half of the season racking up scoreless innings for the Phillies and that's exactly what he did in the 88th All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

Neshek was an early participant in his second All-Star Game. National League manager Joe Maddon of the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs called on Neshek in the top of the second inning and the veteran right-hander faced four batters and pitched around a single on his way to posting a zero.

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One of the NL's other relievers did not fare as well Neshek, however.

Wade Davis of the Cubs entered a tie game in the top of the 10th inning and served up a home run to Robinson Cano on the third pitch he threw. Cano's line drive over the right-field wall was the difference in a 2-1 American League victory at Marlins Park.

The AL has won five straight All-Star Games.

Cano, appearing in his eighth All-Star Game, hit a 1-1 breaking ball for the go-ahead homer. He was named the game's MVP. He won the All-Star Home Run Derby in 2011.

For the first time since 2002, the game was a pure exhibition. For the last 14 seasons, the game decided home-field advantage in the World Series. That practice ended with the new labor agreement that was set in the fall. Home-field advantage in the World Series, for the next five seasons, will go to the participant with the better regular-season record.

There was one moment, however, when the game had the feel of a true exhibition. In the top of the sixth inning, Nelson Cruz, Cano's teammate on the Seattle Mariners, approached home plate and said something to NL catcher Yadier Molina. Cruz then handed Molina his cell phone and proceeded to pose for a picture with home plate umpire Joe West. West, in his 40th season, worked his 5,000th game in June, becoming just the third umpire to do so. The legendary West, known for taking no guff on the field, played along with this one and smiled for the picture.

Becoming a photographer - in full catcher's gear in the middle of a game - was only part of an eventful sixth inning for Molina. In the bottom of the inning, he tied the game at 1-1 with a solo home run to right field against Minnesota's Ervin Santana.

Neshek was the Phillies' only representative in the game. He came to the Phillies in an offseason cash deal with the Houston Astros and earned his way into his second All-Star Game by allowing just five runs in 35 1/3 innings in the first half. He allowed runs in just two of his 38 appearances.

Neshek's success with the Phillies will soon make him a former Phillie. He is slam dunk to be traded by the end of the month as the team looks to profit from his success and get a young player to add to its rebuild in return.

Neshek knows it's a matter of when, not if, he will be traded. He's heard all the rumors.

"Every day a new team pops up," he said. "For me, if it does happen, it will be really fun to go into a playoff race."

The Yankees and Nationals are strong candidates to land Neshek. Lately, the Red Sox have been mentioned. Just about any team looking to shore up its bullpen will be on Neshek.

Does he have any preference where he ends up?

"The team with the best record," he said with a laugh.

Neshek threw just 11 pitches in getting through his one inning of work for the NL. Nine of those pitches were strikes. He retired Carlos Correa on a fly ball to center field for the first out then allowed a single to Justin Smoak before getting Corey Dickerson and Salvador Perez on fly balls.

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