Giancarlo Stanton cherishes many moments from All-Star festivities

MINNEAPOLIS — Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton ran out of the visiting dugout upon hearing his name called to the cheer of 41,048 fans Tuesday night at Target Field.

It was a long-overdue sequence for Stanton, who couldn’t participate in the All-Star Game two years ago because of an injury.

Though he went 0 for 3 as the designated hitter in the National League’s 5-3 loss to the American League, Stanton has many memories to fondly remember from his first festivities.

"Still soaking it all in," Stanton said. "I still have one more night in Minnesota. Kind of get to relax now and realize what just happened and take it down to Miami."

Each of his at-bats led off the inning. In the second, he popped out to second against Boston Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester.

Leading the way

After a lengthy standing ovation and curtain call for New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Stanton faced Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale to open up the fourth.

On a 1-0 pitch, Stanton just got under a 97 mph fastball and flied out to center. Off the bat, fans got up thinking it was going to be a home run.

"It was just a click off," Stanton said. "Came up just a click too early. In this sport it’s a game of inches. If you’re not right on, it’s not going to happen."

Oakland Athletics lefty Scott Kazmir struck out Stanton swinging on an 87 mph slider to begin the sixth. Stanton had fouled off a pair of changeups after seeing two fastballs to start the sequence.

Stanton is batting .370 against left-handers this season but had never faced Lester or Sale. He is hitless in three career at-bats against Kazmir.

The 24-year-old called it "interesting" going against players he doesn’t regularly see who also happen to be the best in the game.

Whether it be blasting a 510-foot shot during the Home Run Derby, saluting New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter in his final season or going down a red carpet to the All-Star Game, the entire experience will stick with Stanton.

Rave reviews

"It’s incredible, it’s something I’ll never forget," Stanton said. "I had a wonderful time here. The Home Run Derby stuck out the most for me because I didn’t do much today at the plate. The whole atmosphere, the whole aura is just all combined as one. You can’t really pick one particular thing because here are so many individual aspects of it that I can cherish."

Miami’s other representative, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, was one of three NL pitchers who didn’t get in the game.

Alvarez was added to the All-Star team on Saturday when Washington Nationals righty Jordan Zimmermann had to withdraw after exiting Friday’s start with a biceps strain.

"The first thing is to get here," Alvarez said in Spanish on Monday. "If you get here the rest is about winning the game and if I get in to pitch I get in. I’m happy being here. If I get into pitch I’ll be very happy."

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at cdenicola13@gmail.com.