MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Derek Jeter started his last All-Star game with a long ovation and a leadoff double, and Miguel Cabrera followed with a two-run homer to give the American League a strong start on the way to a 5-3 lead over the National League through six innings on Tuesday night.
In the annual gathering of the game’s best, Jeter was the honored guest this year. The presence of the 40-year-old New York Yankees shortstop, who will retire after the season, prompted a steady stream of cheers from the crowd at Target Field. Before he stepped to the plate, he waved to admirers in the seats and on the field before digging in and hitting a double for the AL against Adam Wainwright of St. Louis.
Mike Trout drove in Jeter with a triple. Then Cabrera’s smash was the first to leave an All-Star field in two years. Nobody went deep in 2013.
Trout spoiled Pat Neshek’s homecoming in the fifth inning with a bouncing RBI double down the line ruled fair by third base umpire Scott Barry, though replays showed the ball might have been foul. Neshek, the bearded side-arming setup man for the Cardinals, gave up three hits after starting his first All-Star appearance with an out. Neshek grew up in the suburb of Brooklyn Park, just 10 miles north of the ballpark.
After Tyler Clippard relieved Neshek, Jose Altuve stretched the AL lead to 5-3 with a sacrifice fly.
The Milwaukee Brewers comprised one-third of the NL lineup this year, and they helped bring the NL right back in the second against Jon Lester. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez of the Brewers hit a one-out single to start the rally and scored on a double by Philadelphia’s Chase Utley.
Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy followed with his first of two RBI doubles to cut the lead to 3-2.
Jeter started the third with a single, raising his All-Star batting average to .481, with 13 hits in 27 at-bats. That’s the second-best of all time for players with 20 or more at-bats, behind Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer.
Then, right before the fourth inning began, Jeter was taken out for Alexei Ramirez and the captain jogged off an All-Star field for the 14th and final time. With Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” playing on the stadium speakers, he waved to the crowd and exchanged hugs and handshakes in the AL dugout and then took a curtain call before the game resumed.
Utley was hit by a pitch from Chris Sale of the White Sox with two outs, and pinch-runner Dee Gordon — who leads the majors in steals with 43 for the Dodgers — scored on a double by Lucroy to tie the game at 3.
The game began with a temperature of 72 degrees under a picture-perfect summer sky, a view that wasn’t possible the last time Major League Baseball took its midsummer showcase to the land of lakes. In 1985, when the NL beat the AL 6-1 at the Metrodome, a Teflon ceiling covered the action on the other end of downtown Minneapolis. The Twins ditched the roof when they moved to Target Field in 2010.
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