Now that the All-Star Game is back to being an exhibition — it no longer decides home-field advantage in the World Series — everyone can go back to having fun again. The FOX broadcast took advantage of this, putting Ken Rosenthal on the field for an interview with Jose Altuve just before he stepped up to the plate to kick off the game.
Later, FOX had Alex Rodriguez rove around the infield for quick interviews with National League All-Stars Daniel Murphy, Zack Cozart, and Nolan Arenado.
In the top of the sixth inning, Mariners DH Nelson Cruz decided to use the opportunity to get a picture with home plate umpire Joe West. He asked Yadier Molina, decked out with a gold chest protector, to snap the picture for him.
Why Cruz wanted a picture with West, of all people, is anyone’s guess. But it was a fun moment in what has otherwise been a dull All-Star Game.
Molina, by the way, tied the game up at 1-1 in the bottom half with a solo home run. He’s the oldest player to homer in an All-Star Game since Barry Bonds in 2002.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.