All Mariners on the American League All-Star team saw action at Target Field in Minneapolis Tuesday night, although none factored in the AL’s 5-3 victory over the National League. The exhibition primarily served as an emotional tribute to retiring New York Yankees great Derek Jeter, playing in his 14th and final midsummer classic.
Starter Felix Hernandez pitched a predictable and nearly flawless first inning, Robinson Cano received two at-bats as the AL’s starting second baseman, Kyle Seager went 0-for-2 as a pinch hitter/designated hitter, and Fernando Rodney twice shot his trademark arrow into the sky even though he didn’t record a save.
How the Mariners fared in the 85th All-Star Game:
HERNANDEZ: Hernandez pitched only the first inning. After Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 National League MVP, beat out an infield single, Hernandez fanned Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers and Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies with his best pitch, a change-up. With McCutchen on third after advancing on a wild pitch and stolen base, Hernandez induced Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks into an inning-ending ground out.
“He was fast and he was safe,” Hernandez said of McCutchen’s infield hit. “But after that I made good pitches.”
Hernandez, staked to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first by eventual MVP Mike Trout’s RBI triple and Miguel Cabrera’s two-run homer, lobbied American League manager John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox to give him one more inning, but Farrell made the move to Tacoma native Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox.
“One inning was good enough, I guess,” Hernandez said. “That was fine.”
Hernandez, who threw 14 pitches, nine for strikes, is the second Mariner pitcher to start an All-Star game, following Randy Johnson in 1995 and 1997. Johnson did not factor in the decision in either game, nor did Hernandez, a five-time All-Star. Freddy Garcia (2001) is the only Seattle pitcher to win an All-Star game.
CANO: The American League’s fourth-leading hitter (.334) did not have a good All-Star experience. He went 0-for-2, striking out twice with runners in scoring position. In the first, he had an opportunity to drive in Trout, who tripled, but chased two Adam Wainwright pitches out of the strike zone. In the third, with Jeter at second, Cano couldn’t handle anything that Cincinnati’s Alfredo Simon offered him.
Cano, the first American League second baseman to start five consecutive All-Star games since Roberto Alomar (1996-00), had one good play, when he snagged a hard liner off Paul Goldschmidt’s bat in the hole to end the third inning
SEAGER: Added to the team as an injury replacement for Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion, Seager entered in the sixth inning as a pinch hitter for Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz with the AL leading 5-3 to face Milwaukee’s Francisco Rodriguez. Seager, in his first All-Star appearance, scorched a grounder to Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman and was an easy out.
In the eighth, Seager, as DH, hit a ground-ball out to Atlanta second baseman Daniel Murphy.
RODNEY: In his second All-Star game, the AL saves leader (27) entered with two outs in the eighth inning, inheriting Freeman, who singled. Rodney promptly issued a four-pitch walk to Todd Frazier of Cincinnati before striking out Daniel Murphy of the Mets. Rodney, who shot an imaginary arrow into the sky when he was introduced during pre-game ceremonies, repeated his signature move another after retiring Murphy.
Two former Mariners, Adrian Beltre (2005-09) of Texas and Baltimore’s Adam Jones (2006-07), saw action. Beltre drew a walk in his only at-bat and Jones went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.