2023 All-Star Game
The 2023 All-Star Game was the 93rd edition of the Midsummer Classic. It was played at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, WA on July 11, 2023. It was the third time the game was played in Seattle, having been staged at Safeco Field (as the ballpark was then known) in 2001, and at its predecessor, the Kingdome, in 1979. The logo for the game, which features Mount Rainier and the Space Needle, was revealed on July 22, 2022, just after the holding of the 2022 All-Star Game.
The National League ended a losing streak of nine games, dating back to 2012, by defeating the American League, 3-2 in a game which featured a large number of fielding gems and whose outcome was in doubt until the last pitch. Elias Díaz, who provided the winning marging with a two-run homer in the 8th inning, was named the winner of the Ted Williams Award as the game's MVP.
Dusty Baker, manager of the defending World Champion Houston Astros, managed the American League team, assisted by coaches Scott Servais, manager of the Seattle Mariners, Billy North and other members of the Astros coaching staff.
Rob Thomson, manager of the Philadelphia Phillies managed the National League team, assisted by coach Derek Shelton, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, assisted by other members of the Phillies coaching staff.
A number of pitchers in both leagues were replaced because their teams did not want them to give up their regularly-scheduled spot in the starting rotation following the All-Star break.
The National League ended a drought dating back to the 2012 All-Star Game when it defeated the American League by a score of 3-2 in a game that was closely fought from the first pitch to the last and that featured a number of great defensive plays as well as an unlikely hero in the person of first-time All-Star Elias Díaz, the sole representative of the Colorado Rockies at the game.
Defence was the major feature of the 1st inning, as the first two hitters for the NL, RF Ronald Acuna and 1B Freddie Freeman both drove pitches from Gerrit Cole to the outfield wall, but in both cases, RF Adolis García and LF Randy Arozarena made nice catches. In the bottom of the inning, Zac Gallen allowed a single to Arozarena with two outs, but he was immediately caught stealing on a strong throw by C Sean Murphy. When the preceding hitter, DH Shohei Ohtani, had come to the plate, he had been greeted by a chorus of "Come to Seattle!" by the local fans, as speculations of where the superstar two-way player would end up next year would doubtless dominate the news cycle over the next few months. In any case, the game then set a clear pattern of each manager using a new pitcher at the start of every inning, and Nathan Eovaldi took the mound for the AL in the 2nd inning. He allowed a lead-off single to DH J.D. Martinez and another to major league batting average leader Luis Arraez with one out, but stranded both runners. However, Mitch Keller gave up the game's first run in the bottom of the 2nd on a solo homer by 1B Yandy Díaz. Díaz was set to become a father for the first time in the next 24 hours, so he was certain to remember this date in future years.
The score remained the same in the 3rd, as the unrelated Sonny Gray and Josiah Gray took a turn on the mound, but the NL tied the score in the top of the 3rd. Martinez once again led off the inning with a hit, this one a double off George Kirby and after a ground out by 3B Nolan Arenado, Arraez did what he does best: line a single to the opposite field to drive in Martinez from second base. Murphy followed by hitting another drive to deep right, but García once again pulled out the stops on a nice catch to reel in the ball. Arraez then apparently stole second, but the safe call was overturned on appeal as a great throw by C Jonah Heim to SS Bo Bichette got him by the barest of margins. The game then remained tied until the 6th as the parade of pitchers featured Alex Cobb, Carlos Estévez, Justin Steele and Yennier Cano, while everyone in both teams' starting line-ups was replaced by someone else. There was another great defensive play in the bottom of the 5th when 3B Austin Riley robbed his opposite number Josh Jung of a hit by fielding a soft tapper with his bare hand and throwing to 1B Matt Olson to just beat him out. At that point the NL infield was entirely composed of players from the Atlanta Braves, and earlier in the game, there had been six members of the Texas Rangers on the field at once, as both teams were very heavily represented.
The NL made Cano work in the top of the 6th when after two quick outs, DH Jorge Soler hit a ground ball that forced 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to move to his right. He got to the ball easily, but his throw to Cano, rushing in to cover first base, was high and went past him for an error. Cano then appeared to strike out Riley, but the pitch was called a ball, and given a reprieve, Riley hit a single to put a second runner on base before 2B Ozzie Albies grounded out to end the inning. The AL then took the lead again in the bottom of that inning against Alexis Díaz, with a one-out single by DH Salvador Perez, an automatic double by LF Brent Rooker that bounced into the right-field stands, and a long sacrifice fly to RF Juan Soto by Bichette for a 2-1 lead. Jordan Romano then took the mound for the AL and retired Kyle Tucker on a fly ball to right. However, the next batter, his former teammate Lourdes Gurriel, hit a very long ball down the left field line that was originally ruled a game-tying homer. Manager Dusty Baker appealed the ruling however, and it was reversed as the ball was foul by a foot or two. Meanwhile, however, Romano had felt a twinge in his lower back on that pitch, and left the game, replaced by Michael Lorenzen. Gurriel resumed his at-bat after a long interruption and hit a single that traveled maybe 20 feet down the third-base line, after which SS Geraldo Perdomo drew a walk. However, Lorenzen managed to get out of the jam by having Soto pop out on an infield fly and striking out 1B Pete Alonso. The one-run lead still stood, and after Camilo Doval worked around a two-out double by José Ramírez in the bottom of the 7th, that's where the score stood entering the 8th, the AL in very familiar territory.
Next to come to the mound was Baltimore Orioles closer Félix Bautista, an intimidating presence at 6' 8" and throwing gas. However, his control was not great, and he walked the first man he faced, CF Nick Castellanos, who was incidentally playing the position for the first time of his career due to the lack of a true centerfielder on the NL roster. Next up was Elias Díaz, pinch-hitter for DH Soler, and he surprised everyone after a wild pitch by Bautista by driving a two-strike pitch into the left-field stands for a long home run that turned the scales on the game. The NL was now in the lead, 3-2, for the first time in the game. Bautista continued to struggle with his control, and after he walked C Will Smith with two outs, he was removed from the game by Baker, and replaced by veteran Kenley Jansen. Smith, having been Jansen's catcher last year, knew that he was very slow and deliberate to the plate, and quickly took off to steal second base uncontested, but Jansen was unfazed. He got Gurriel to strike out to end the inning. Next to the mound for the NL was Josh Hader, who gave up a lead-off single to 2B Whit Merrifield. However, Hader got Perez to fly out and on his next pitch Rooker lined the ball straight at Riley, who threw to Olson to double off Merrifield and the inning was over, having lasted a mere five pitches.
So it was on to the top of the 9th, with the NL in the unfamiliar position of holding a lead. They were unable to pad it against Pablo López, in spite of singles by Soto and Castellanos as Elias Díaz struck out swinging to end the frame. Craig Kimbrel was summoned by his manager with the Philadelphia Phillies, Rob Thomson, to close out the game, something he had successfully done over 400 times in the course of an outstanding career. He started off the bottom of the 9th by getting SS Wander Franco to fly out after a long battle then struck out Guerrero, but Tucker worked a walk, bringing up hometown favorite Julio Rodríguez. It was another protracted battle, but the youngster also managed to draw a walk, and now the winning run was on base with two outs. David Bednar had been warming up in the bullpen and was ready to come in, as Kimbrel had expended a lot of pitches, but Thomson let him face one more batter, Ramírez. It took another five pitches, but Kimbrel got him to strike out swinging to end the game.
|Ronald Acuna||RF||Atlanta Braves||1||Marcus Semien||2B||Texas Rangers|
|Freddie Freeman||1B||Los Angeles Dodgers||2||Shohei Ohtani||DH||Los Angeles Angels|
|Mookie Betts||CF||Los Angeles Dodgers||3||Randy Arozarena||LF||Tampa Bay Rays|
|J.D. Martinez||DH||Los Angeles Dodgers||4||Corey Seager||SS||Texas Rangers|
|Nolan Arenado||3B||St. Louis Cardinals||5||Yandy Díaz||1B||Tampa Bay Rays|
|Luis Arraez||2B||Miami Marlins||6||Adolis García||RF||Texas Rangers|
|Sean Murphy||C||Atlanta Braves||7||Austin Hays||CF||Baltimore Orioles|
|Corbin Carroll||LF||Arizona Diamondbacks||8||Josh Jung||3B||Texas Rangers|
|Orlando Arcia||SS||Atlanta Braves||9||Jonah Heim||C||Texas Rangers|
|Zac Gallen||P||Arizona Diamondbacks||SP||Gerrit Cole||P||New York Yankees|
National: Zac Gallen, Mitch Keller, Josiah Gray, Alex Cobb, Justin Steele, Alexis Díaz, Camilo Doval (W), Josh Hader, Craig Kimbrel (SV)
American: Gerrit Cole, Nathan Eovaldi, Sonny Gray, George Kirby, Carlos Estévez, Yennier Cano, Jordan Romano, Michael Lorenzen, Félix Bautista (L), Kenley Jansen, Pablo López
- Todd Tichenor HP, Quinn Wolcott 1B, Tripp Gibson 2B, Stu Scheurwater 3B, Ryan Blakney LF, Ramon De Jesus RF
Jim Wolf served as the replay official
- "NL ends 2nd-longest drought in ASG history", mlb.com, July 12, 2023. 
- Mark Feinsand: "Unlikely hero Elias Díaz earns All-Star Game MVP honors", mlb.com, July 12, 2023. 
- Thomas Harrigan: "From 1st-timers to 10th-timers, All-Star Game's starting field set", mlb.com, June 29, 2023. 
- Daniel Kramer: "'23 MLB All-Star Game to be held in Seattle", mlb.com, September 17, 2021. 
- Daniel Kramer: /Mariners unveil 2023 All-Star Game logo", mlb.com, July 22, 2022. 
- Sarah Langs: "ASG deep dive: 11 fun facts on this year's rosters: Braves make franchise history, while both squads boast rookie starters for first time", mlb.com, July 2, 2023. 
- Bob Nightengale (USA Today): "'It’s a long time coming:' NL finally ends nine-game All-Star Game losing streak", Yahoo! Sports, July 12, 2023. 
- Manny Randhawa and David Adler: "Here are the All-Star Ballot finalists moving on to Phase 2", mlb.com, June 22, 2023. 
- Manny Randhawa: "9 unlikely All-Stars on this year's rosters", mlb.com, July 2, 2023. 
- Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru: "Breaking down the full 2023 All-Star Game rosters", mlb.com, July 2, 2023. 
|Major League Baseball's All-Star Game
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