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AL bests NL 4-3 to win 2019 All-Star Game

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For the first time since 2014, an American League team hosted the All-Star Game. This time, it was at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Indians. For a seventh consecutive year, the American League emerged victorious, defeating the National League 4-3.

After the players were introduced on the field, the ballpark went silent in memory of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who died last week at the age of 27. In his honor, All-Star teammates Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella wore Skaggs’ No. 45. Players donned “45” patches on their uniforms, but they had trouble staying attached.

CC Sabathia, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Indians and is retiring after this season, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Sandy Alomar, Jr.

Dodger pitching yielded the first two runs to the AL. Clayton Kershaw allowed a run in the second inning on a one-out single by Alex Bregman followed by a two-out RBI double to Michael Brantley. Walker Buehler allowed the next run in the fifth when Gary Sánchez led off with a double. Sánchez moved to third base on a grounder, then scored on an infield single by Jorge Polanco.

Before the top of the fifth inning, the players, the broadcasters, and the crowd stood up with their Stand Up To Cancer signs. Many of the signs mentioned Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Carrasco held his own sign, which said, “I stand.” His All-Star teammates Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, and Carlos Santana, as well as manager Terry Francona hugged him as he made his way back into the dugout.

Hometown hero Shane Bieber had a great moment after taking the mound for the top of the fifth. He struck out the side, becoming the first Indians player to do so in the All-Star Game.

The NL finally got on the board in the top of the sixth when Charlie Blackmon crushed a Liam Hendriks fastball out to center field for a two-out solo homer, cutting the deficit to 2-1. The AL would get that run back plus one in the bottom of the seventh against Brandon Woodruff. Matt Chapman drew a leadoff walk, then advanced to third base on a James McCann single and scored when Xander Bogaerts grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. After lefty Will Smith replaced Woodruff, Joey Gallo swung at the first pitch, driving a line drive solo home run out to right field to push the AL’s lead to 4-1.

Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso played a key role in the NL’s eighth-inning rally against the Indians’ Brad Hand. Yasmani Grandal led off with a walk and moved to second on a David Dahl single. Paul DeJong drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Hand was able to strike out Blackmon, but Alonso ripped a line drive past Gleyber Torres, plating two runs.

The NL couldn’t figure out Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning. J.T. Realmuto and Max Muncy each struck out swinging. As Grandal came to the plate for the final at-bat, Sabathia came out to the mound to “visit” Chapman. As Sabathia walked back to the dugout, he received a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd. When play resumed, Chapman fanned Grandal, striking out the side and ending the game in a 4-3 victory for the American League.

Bieber won All-Star Game MVP. As mentioned, he struck out the side in his only inning of work. Bieber was added to the AL All-Star roster only four days ago.

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.

The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.

Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.