The American League’s pitching was so good in the All-Star Game that Felix Hernandez almost qualified for a dubious outing — he gave up a hit. A Carlos Beltran single off the Mariners’ ace in the fourth inning was one of only three hits by the National League in the AL’s 3-0 victory Tuesday night at Citi Field in New York.
Hernandez otherwise induced Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto and Mets’ hometown hero David Wright into ground-outs, and his fourth All-Star Game was done. It was his biggest outing. Despite three earlier selections, he pitched only in his first, in 2009, when he was in for eight pitches and three outs.
MVP for the largely drama-free game was the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera, who pitched a perfect, 16-pitch eighth inning and was given the honor as a salute for the final season in his remarkable career as the game’s greatest relief pitcher. Rivera, 43, made his 13th All-Star appearance, second most all-time among pitchers. Warren Spahn had 14.
“Priceless,” Rivera told Fox RV about his final appearance. ” I appreciate every bit of it.”
In nine All-Star innings, Rivera allowed one run – unearned – and five hits while striking out five, walking none and earning a record four saves.
The NL, which had won three ASGs in a row, hasn’t had such a paltry showing since 1990, when it also had two hits in a 2-0 loss.
The only news of note was the potential injury to Yankees star Robinson Cano when he was hit in the back of the knee by a 96 mph fastball from NL starter Matt Harvey of the Mets. He took first base, but came out for a pinch-runner.
The Mariners’ other representative, starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, did not play. He was held out by a baseball rule that precludes starters from the previous Sunday from pitching on short notice for the All-Star game. That was the rule that kept Hernandez from pitching in 2011 and 2012.