It took four hours and 50 minutes, but the American League beat the National League 4-3. Justin Morneau of the Twins scored on a sac fly. There was great clutch pitching and clutch fielding when it counted. It’s only fitting the game would end on a close play at the plate as Morneau just slid in before the tag on a Michael Young fly ball to right field off Phillies closer Brad Lidge.
All 64 players saw action in a game that saw pitchers combine for 34 strikeouts, 17 on each side. This is the first time the National League has lost an extra inning ball game. They are now 10-1-1. Boston’s JD Drew who was booed, was hearing cheers after he homered to tie the game at two in the bottom of the seventh for the American League. He was named MVP.
Both teams had great opportunities to win the game before the 15th, but couldn’t find ways to score. Pittsburgh’s Nate McClouth threw out Rays’ catcher Dioner Navarro trying to score in the 11th. In the 10th, the American League loaded the bases with no outs when Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla committed two errors on back to back plays. Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook got three straight ground outs with two force outs coming at home to keep the game going.
Of course now the great debate will start up about putting the importance of home field advantage in the World Series to the league who wins the is game after NL manager Clint Hurdle had to use Brandon Webb of the Diamondbacks who threw over 100 pitches on Sunday, and AL manager Terry Francona who used Steve Kazmir of the Rays who did the same thing. They’ve expanded the rosters to 32 players in hopes of eliminating the scenario that played out last night. I’ve always wondered why MLB doesn’t play the game on Wednesday and I heard John Kruk of ESPN offer up that suggestion, especially since most teams don’t play now until Friday.
I think you can solve the issues of the pitcher real quick. As a manager, if your starting pitcher is selected for the All-star game, you don’t start them on Sunday. If home field advantage for the World Series is up for grabs, you save your pitcher for that game. Adjust your pitching rotation if need be. Or, I think the manager of the All-star team needs to take that into consideration. If another team isn’t going to make their pitcher available for the game due to their turn in the rotation coming up on Sunday…sorry, pick someone who will be available. Plus, move the game to Wednesday. Every player gets Monday off, home run derby Tuesday, game Wednesday, another off day/travel day Thursday, then start back up on Friday.