Giancarlo Stanton wins MVP, powers American League to 9th straight All-Star Game win

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw started in front of home fans and performances from Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera in the first All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium in 42 years, but the end result looked all too familiar: The American League won 3-2 for his ninth straight All-Star win and 21st in the last 25 Midsummer Classics.

The game turned in the fourth inning when Giancarlo Stanton and Byron Buxton hit two home runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin. No one was cheated with their swing. Stanton’s game-winning two-run shot was a 457-foot blast down left center — longer than any home run hit at Dodger Stadium in the first half of the season. Buxton followed up with a 425-foot shot across the left field line, the seventh consecutive homer in All-Star history.

Stanton, who made his first All-Star appearance for the New York Yankees since they acquired him from the Miami Marlins prior to the 2018 season, won MVP honors with his first All-Star hit; In his previous games he had gone 0 to 6.

He joins Ken Griffey Jr., Miguel Tejada, Cal Ripken Jr. and Dave Parker as one of five players to have won a League MVP Award, a Home Run Derby and an All-Star Game MVP. Stanton is also the third Yankees player to be All-Star MVP, along with Derek Jeter (2000) and Mariano Rivera (2013).

Stanton’s Yankees career has been one of ups and downs, including missing most of the 2019 and 2020 seasons with injuries, but he has 24 homers on the break, a key part of a deep Yankees team that has a chance to break the franchise record of 114 to beat wins from 1998.

It was a memorable homecoming for Stanton, who grew up watching Dodgers games and attended Notre Dame High School in nearby Sherman Oaks.

“I would sit in left field and try to scalp whatever tickets we could afford,” he said. “Meeting one out there is amazing.”

Among the 50 tickets he gave out to family and friends, one was for his father.

“My pops took me to my first Dodgers game and taught me how to love that game,” Stanton said.

Buxton admired Stanton’s home run from the circle on deck.

“That’s probably one of the hardest balls I’ve seen from the circle on deck,” Buxton said. “I don’t even know if there are words to describe how hard he hit baseball. Seeing him in person, being on the same team, finally being close was like ‘wow’. You know, I literally sat down. … He crushed that.

As Buxton stepped onto the plate, he said he thought, “I don’t agree with that.”

He came close.

Stanton’s Yankees teammate Nestor Cortes, who fielded a scoreless sixth inning, said he will sometimes be at the shortstop during batting practice.

“He’s hitting balls at me, it’s so hard to react,” Cortes said. “As Stanton and [Aaron] Judge Connect, it’s amazing how hard, how loud, how far the ball flies.”

The AL pitchers kept National League batters batterless from the second through the seventh inning, only the fourth time in All-Star history that a team has gone at least 20 at-bats without a hit.

Cleveland Guardians seamer Emmanuel Clase made his All-Star debut and finished the game by beating Garrett Cooper on three pitches, fanning Kyle Schwarber with three pitches and then blowing a 1-2 99 mph cutter past Jake Cronenworth, missing just one spotless inning .

For the Dodgers fans in attendance, however, the main focus was the chance to see Kershaw start an All-Star game for the first time in his legendary career. The nine-time All-Star allowed Shohei Ohtani a leadoff single before picking him up at first base amid a roar from the crowd en route to a scoreless inning.

“I tried to take a minute in the beginning to take it all in and look around, which I usually never do,” Kershaw said. “And I think the moment itself, being here at Dodger Stadium, a place I’ve been at for 15 years now, doing something like this with the best in the world, is really fun. And it was also very personal for me and my family, everyone. I’m excited that it’s over. I did well I got out of there with no runs. “

Ohtani told TV viewers as he stepped up to the bat that he would swing on the first pitch – and he did it, putting a fastball in midfield for a single, though Kershaw said he broke Ohtani’s bat.

“You can’t throw the first pitch of an All-Star game as a breaking ball,” Kershaw said. “He didn’t hit it over the fence so it was a win and we can move on. But yeah, you kind of had to give him a heater there, I guess just for everything. Had to do it.”

While facing the judge, Kershaw then picked up Ohtani.

“I was just kind of praising it over there,” Kershaw said. “I didn’t know what pitch to throw yet, so I just gave myself a second and I got it.”

MLB added two veteran All-Stars in Pujols and Cabrera this year.

Winner of three MVP awards, Pujols is fifth on the career home run list and third in the RBIs and is playing his final season, returning to the St. Louis Cardinals after 10 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels and Dodgers. He pinched in the fourth inning, drawing a brief cheer from the crowd with a towering fly ball down left field, but he was intercepted just short of the warning lane.

With his 3,000. April’s career hit, two-time MVP Cabrera became just the seventh player with both 3,000 hits and 500 homers — and one of just two to also have a career .300 average. He came on in the fifth inning and landed to the shortstop.

The NL jumped over Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Shane McClanahan for two runs and four hits in the bottom of the first inning, with Mookie Betts leading by a double Ronald Acuna Jr. and Paul Goldschmidt hitting a 417-foot home run to the left- Center. Giancarlo Stanton wins MVP, powers American League to 9th straight All-Star Game win

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