Derek Jeter smacked a double to right field off National League starter Adam Wainwright in the bottom of the first inning of Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game at Target Field. Jeter then came around to score on a Mike Trout triple in what became a three-run opening frame for the American League.
Wainwright met with reporters after his one-inning outing and admitted that he purposely gave Jeter a hittable pitch in the shortstop’s final Midsummer Classic. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports …
There are a couple of major issues here … 1. It defeats the purpose of grooving a pitch to honor a guy if you then acknowledge publicly that you grooved that pitch. 2. However dumb the rule may be — and it is indeed very dumb — winning the All-Star Game means earning homefield advantage for the World Series that same season, and Wainwright’s Cardinals are a year-by-year mainstay in the National League playoff picture.
FOLLOWUP: Adam Wainwright to Erin Andrews: “I didn’t want Derek Jeter to get a hit”
MORE FROM HBT: Derek Jeter’s final, wonderful All-Star Game ends in the fourth inning
Did Adam Wainwright take away from Derek Jeter?
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.