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    HomeSportNational League ends 9-game losing streak behind Elías Díaz home run

    National League ends 9-game losing streak behind Elías Díaz home run

    SEATTLE — The National League players ended a nine-game losing streak against their American League counterparts on Tuesday in the MLB All-Star Game. After trailing for much of the contest, they went ahead on a two-run home run from Elías Díaz in the eighth inning.

    The American League got on the board first with a second-inning home run from Yandy Díaz. In the fourth, the National League tied it 1-1 on a double from J.D. Martinez and a single from Luis Arráez. The AL went ahead again in the sixth on a sac fly from Bo Bichette after Salvador Perez and Brent Rooker reached base. In the seventh, it briefly appeared that the NL had tied things 2-2, but then a would-be home run from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was ruled a foul ball. In the bottom of the ninth, the AL had two on with a chance to win it, but closer Craig Kimbrel squeaked out the victory.

    Here’s our inning-by-inning breakdown of the action from Seattle’s T-Mobile Park.

    Ninth inning: NL 3, AL 2

    Zach Crizer: The last time the National League won the All-Star Game was in 2012 — when there were more current players involved than you might think. Justin Verlander took the loss for the AL. Clayton Kershaw and Craig Kimbrel, each 2023 All-Stars, pitched for the NL.

    In the top of the ninth against Pablo Lopez, Juan Soto and Nick Castellanos got on base with singles, but the NL hitters didn’t get any insurance runs out of it.

    ZC: If the NL holds on, remember this lightning-fast double-play turned on a line drive by Austin Riley and Pete Alonso. That might prevent us (or deprive us, depending on your perspective) from seeing a tiebreaker Home Run Derby.

    Craig Kimbrel came in to attempt to close it out for the National League. After two quick outs, local nemesis Kyle Tucker came to the plate, and Kimbrel walked him to put the tying run on base … and bring Julio Rodríguez up to bat, with raucous “Ju-li-o!” chants ensuing.

    ZC: Mariners fans have been lustily booing Astros players all night. Just there, they booed Kyle Tucker but then roared as he walked to bring Julio Rodríguez to the plate as the potential winning run.

    ZC: Craig Kimbrel walks Rodríguez, and we won’t have the ultimate dramatic moment tonight. Instead, José Ramírez comes up with two men on, but Kimbrel finds the zone and strikes him out to clinch the NL’s first All-Star Game win since 2012. Elias Díaz plays the hero and wins MVP. Camilo Doval gets the win, and Craig Kimbrel hangs on to get the save.

    Hannah Keyser: “Oh my god, that was unbelievable,” Rodríguez said afterward. “I definitely was trying to win it, honestly.”

    Eighth inning: NL 3, AL 2

    With Felix Bautista pitching, Nick Castellanos drew a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Elías Díaz hit one out of the park to give the National League its first lead of the night — and a chance at its first All-Star Game victory since 2012. Three outs around a Will Smith walk completed the inning.

    In the bottom half of the inning, Josh Hader gave up a leadoff single to Whit Merrifield Jr. before eliciting a flyout and a double-play to send it to the ninth.

    Elias Díaz of the Colorado Rockies was a surprise hero for the National League on Tuesday, hitting a two-run home run in the eighth inning of the 2023 MLB All-Star Game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

    Seventh inning: AL 2, NL 1

    For a few moments, it appeared that the game was again tied, thanks to a home run from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. off Jordan Romano. Instead, the hit was ruled a foul ball. Michael Lorenzen then replaced Romano, who left due to lower back tightness, on the mound for the AL. Gurriel singled, and Geraldo Perdomo drew a walk, but then two consecutive outs ended the threat.

    With Camilo Doval pitching, the bottom of the seventh was highlighted by a round of boos for Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker immediately followed by cheers and chants for Julio Rodríguez. Doval got them both out before a double from José Ramírez and a lineout to end the inning.

    Sixth inning: AL 2, NL 1

    Hometown hero and Home Run Derby star Julio Rodríguez ran out to center field before the sixth and was greeted with exuberant cheers and a “Ju-li-o!” chant from the crowd. The AL made several defensive substitutions as Yennier Cano took the mound.

    With two outs, pinch-hitter Jorge Soler reached base on an error, and then Austin Riley hit a full-count single to put runners on the corners. But an Ozzie Albies groundout ended the NL half of the inning.

    The AL got some action on the basepaths against Alexis Diaz in the bottom half of the inning, with a single from Salvador Perez and a ground-rule double from Brent Rooker. A sacrifice fly from Bo Bichette then drove in the AL’s second run of the night.

    Fifth inning: AL 1, NL 1

    In the top of the fifth, it was Carlos Estévez on the mound for the AL, working quickly with three straight outs. In the bottom half, Justin Steele also moved quickly, allowing a single to Austin Hays but otherwise getting three Rangers out.

    Fourth inning: AL 1, NL 1

    George Kirby took the ball for the AL in the fourth, welcomed by a robust cheer from the home crowd. J.D. Martinez then recoded his second hit of the game with a double. Two batters later, Luis Arráez hit his second single of the game, driving in the National League’s first run.

    With two outs, Arráez then attempted to steal and was originally called safe, but the call was overturned, and the NL half of the inning was over.

    The “Come to Seattle” chants were back in the bottom of the inning, with Ohtani leading off at the plate against NL pitcher Alex Cobb. Ohtani draw a walk and then advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a flyout. But that was as far as he got, as a groundout ended the inning.

    Third inning: AL 1, NL 0

    Sonny Gray stepped in for Nathan Eovaldi and, after two quick outs, gave up a walk to Freddie Freeman. A strikeout of Mookie Betts ended the top half of the inning and kept the NL scoreless.

    Josiah Gray then took the mound for the NL and recorded a 1-2-3 inning.

    Second inning: AL 1, NL 0

    J.D. Martinez led off the second inning with a single off Nathan Eovaldi, who replaced Cole for the AL, and advanced to second two batters later on a single from Luis Arráez. But that was as far as they’d get, as Eovaldi made quick work of the next two batters.

    In the bottom of the second, Yandy Díaz put the American League on the board with a solo home run off of NL pitcher Mitch Keller.

    First inning: 0-0

    Things began with flair, as Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman hit deep fly balls off of AL starter Gerrit Cole, only to be foiled by outfielders Adolis Garcia and Randy Arozarena, respectively.

    HK: Very quickly we have a demonstration of why the All-Star break needs to feature skills competitions — specifically, defensive skills competitions.

    As the second batter for the AL, Shohei Ohtani was immediately greeted with chants of “Come to Seattle” from the packed crowd at T-Mobile Park. Ohtani struck out against NL starter Zac Gallen, but the sentiment stands.

    HK: Did they plan this? What remarkable coordination to pull it off — with such clear enunciation, too — in his first at-bat.

    The first hit of the night belongs to Randy Arozarena, who hit a single to left field … before getting caught stealing.

    Said Cole afterward of his start: “A lot of adrenaline for a bullpen day.”

    As for how he felt about the back-to-back almost home runs that began the game?

    “You got to trust your defense. I mean, I’m here to throw strikes,” Cole said. “I was a little more worried about Freddie’s than I was about Ronald’s, but either way, like, yeah, you’ve got to trust your defense. You got world-class guys out there running down the ball. So I think it worked out great.”

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