Joey Gallo smacked a solo home run on Tuesday and the American League won its seventh consecutive Major League Baseball All-Star Game, defeating the National League 4-3 at Cleveland, Ohio.
Japanese right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees was the winning pitcher, the first Yankee All-Star winning pitcher since 1948, as the American League improved its edge in the overall rivalry to 45-43 with two drawn.
Tanaka threw a shutout inning with one strikeout to collect the decision.
Yankees relief ace Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth to get the save for the AL while Los Angeles Dodgers star lefty Clayton Kershaw suffered his second All-Star loss after 2015.
The American League has won 19 of the past 23 All-Star Games.
Cleveland right-handed pitcher Shane Bieber, who struck out the side in the fifth in his first All-Star nod, was named the Most Valuable Player. The home-club hero received the biggest cheers of the night for his work on the mound.
“That was incredible,” he said. “Couldn’t feel my feet or the rest of my body for that matter. I just tried to take it all in and cherish the moment.”
Lefthander Ryu Hyun-jin of the Dodgers, the first South Korean starting pitcher in the All-Star Game, and Houston’s Justin Verlander, the oldest starting pitcher in the All-Star Game since 2006 at age 36, each pitched a scoreless first inning.
The American League opened the scoring in the second inning when Houston’s Alex Bregman hit an infield single and scored on a two-out double by Astros teammate Michael Brantley, a former Cleveland standout who drew loud applause for his heroics.
“I was very emotional,” Brantley said. “I tried to hold it together. To come back in front of these fans I played before for 10 years, to get that ovation, I enjoyed it. That will stay with me for a lifetime.”
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez doubled to left field to open the fifth for the American League, took third on a sacrifice ground out and scored on an infield single by Minnesota shortstop Jorge Polanco, giving the AL a 2-0 edge.
Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon answered for the National League with a two-out solo homer in the top of the sixth inning, trimming the AL lead in half.
Skaggs tribute patches
Oakland’s Matt Chapman walked in the seventh and took third on a single by James McGann of the Chicago White Sox. Boston’s Xander Bogaerts grounded into a double play but that allowed Chapman to score, boosting the AL edge to 3-1.
Texas outfielder Gallo followed with a solo homer for a 4-1 AL advantage.
In the NL seventh against Cleveland pitcher Brad Hand, Milwaukee’s Yasmani Grandal walked and Colorado’s David Dahl singled to right field and Paul DeJong of St Louis to load the bases.
New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso, who won the Home Run Derby contest on Monday, smacked a two-out single to left field to score two runs and lift the NL back within 4-3.
DeJong and Alonso advanced on stolen bases but Milwaukee’s Mike Moustakas popped out to end the threat and Chapman retired the NL in the ninth to seal the win.
Players on both teams wore tribute patches with the No45, the jersey number of the late Tyler Skaggs, the Los Angeles Angels pitcher who died last week in a Texas hotel room two days after his final appearance.
Mike Trout and Angels teammate Tommy La Stella each wore jersey No45.
Next year’s All-Star Game will be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.