MIAMI — A year after the Kansas City Royals dominated the All-Star Game behind Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez home runs that lifted the American League over the National League, three Royals contributed to the cause in another AL win.
Seattle’s Robinson Cano homered off former Royals closer Wade Davis leading off the 10th inning and the AL beat the NL 2-1 Tuesday night in an All-Star Game dominated by this era’s flame-throwers, rather than its standout sluggers.
Kansas City’s Jason Vargas wasn’t among the hard throwers, but he was just as effective, pitching a scoreless fourth inning while allowing one hit.
Vargas was in line for the win until Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina tied the score with a sixth-inning home run off former Royal Ervin Santana of the Twins. The AL had taken a fifth-inning lead when Minnesota’s Miguel Sano hit a bloop RBI single off Alex Wood.
Royals catcher Salvador Perez started the game and went 0-for-2. Washington right fielder Bryce Harper robbed him of a hit with a diving catch in the second inning.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas, who made the AL squad as winner of the Final Vote, entered the game in the bottom of the seventh, replacing Sano. He went 0-for-2, making outs against a pair of former Royals teammates. Moustakas flied out deep to right field against Colorado’s Greg Holland and struck out against the Cubs’ Davis.
Davis, of course, wasn’t with the Cubs last fall when they won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. He was acquired from Kansas City for outfielder Jorge Soler to fortify the bullpen, and was the only Cubs player in this showcase. Chicago has struggled this season, going into the break at 43-45.
Cano, the game’s MVP, sent a hanging curve from Davis off the back wall of the right-field bullpen, then blew a bubble with his gum when rounding the bases.
Cano’s homer came exactly 50 years after the previous All-Star Game to end 2-1 in extra innings, when Tony Perez hit a tiebreaking 15th-inning homer off Catfish Hunter in the NL’s 2-1 win at Anaheim, California. Perez, now a Marlins executive, was among eight Latin-born Hall of Famers who threw out ceremonial first pitches.
Molina, who caught one of those pitches, had just entered behind the plate in the top half of the sixth inning and snapped off an All-Star first — Seattle’s Nelson Cruz pulled a phone out of his uniform pants and asked the catcher to snap a photo of him with umpire Joe West.
Craig Kimbrel wiggled out of a jam in the ninth and right fielder Justin Upton made a lunging catch in the 10th to help the AL win its fifth in a row. And for the first time since 1964, the rivalry is all even — 43 wins apiece with two ties, and each side has scored exactly 361 runs.