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AL edges NL 2-1 to win fifth consecutive All-Star Game

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It was fitting that, for the first time since 2002, the All-Star Game did not determine home field advantage in the World Series and went extra innings. In 2002, when the All-Star Game was held in Milwaukee, the midsummer classic ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings. Thus began then-commissioner Bud Selig’s motivation to tie the All-Star Game to home field advantage.

In all honesty, the 2017 All-Star Game was a snoozefest. We’ve heard stories of commissioner Rob Manfred’s desire to speed up the game, to reduce non-action plays. Over 10 innings, the American League pitching struck out nine and walked five while National League pitchers walked one and struck out 14. Out of 79 batters, walks and strikeouts accounted for over one-third of their at-bats — 36.7 percent, to be exact. One out of every three at-bats ended in a player either walking to first base or back to the dugout. Riveting baseball.

There were a couple of bright spots, though not everyone seemed to like them judging by my Twitter feed. The FOX broadcast had Ken Rosenthal interview Jose Altuve just before he stepped to the plate to begin Tuesday’s action. For a game that has struggled to push its stars into the pop culture mainstream, this was a good decision. Later, FOX had Alex Rodriguez roam around the infield for interviews with NL All-Stars Daniel Murphy, Zack Cozart, and Nolan Arenado. And then FOX had George Springer and Bryce Harper wear microphones and interviewed them in the middle of an inning.

Harper made a great play in the second inning, robbing Salvador Perez of a single to shallow right-center. Harper’s hat flew off in the process, so he flipped his long hair back as he got up. That was fun. Nelson Cruz had Yadier Molina take a picture of him with umpire Joe West before batting in the sixth. Also fun.

The American League took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Miguel Sano hit a single to shallow right field off of Alex Wood. Molina tied the game at one apiece with a solo home run to right-center off of Ervin Santana. Robinson Cano un-tied the game with a solo home run in the top of the 10th off of Wade Davis. Andrew Miller took the mound in the bottom half of the 10th and retired Corey Seager and Ender Inciarte to start the inning. Joey Votto drew a walk — of course — to extend the game, but Miller struck out Cody Bellinger to end the game.

The American League has now won five consecutive All-Star Games. Impressively, that pales in comparison to the AL’s previous streak, which ran from 1997-2009 (excepting the 2002 tie).

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.