The National League had its three-year winning streak snapped in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at New York’s Citi Field, losing 3-0 to the American League on Tuesday night.
However, three was a positive number for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as center fielder Andrew McCutchen, closer Jason Grilli and third baseman Pedro Alvarez took the Mets’ home field for the NL team at various points of the evening. Righthanded reliever Mark Melancon, who was available out of the bullpen, and injured starter Jeff Locke watched the festivities from the sidelines.
McCutchen made an immediate impact on the game in his third consecutive Midsummer Classic appearance. The 26-year-old entered as a pinch-runner for St. Louis’ Carlos Beltran, who had singled in the fourth inning. McCutchen promptly stole second base, but was stranded when New York’s David Wright grounded out.
McCutchen, who manned center field for the rest of the contest, struck out swinging in both of his at-bats. Oakland’s Grant Balfour and Texas’ Joe Nathan got the better of “Cutch” in the sixth and ninth innings, respectively.
Grilli took the mound in a familiar spot for the 36-year-old first-time all-star, the ninth. Although the NL was down 3-0 at the time, Grilli danced around a leadoff triple by Detroit’s Prince Fielder to toss a scoreless frame. He was also interviewed by the Fox broadcast team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver during the seventh inning.
Alvarez replaced Wright at third in the eighth inning and got a crack at the plate in the bottom of the ninth after Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt drilled a double to left to extend the game. Batting against Nathan, Alvarez fouled off a couple of pitches before popping up to second base, sealing the AL’s first victory since their 13-game unbeaten streak ended in 2010.
With the win, the AL clinched home-field advantage in this fall’s World Series. This is the first time in All-Star Game history there have been back-to-back shutouts; the NL won 8-0 last July in Kansas City. 42-year-old Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera was given the MVP award after tossing a perfect bottom of the eighth in what he said will be his final All-Star Game.
The Pirates return to action Friday in Cincinnati, when they begin a three-game weekend series against their NL Central-rival Reds.