American League infielder Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees waves to the crowd as he leaves the field in the fourth inning during the 2014 MLB All Star Game at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
MINNEAPOLIS — The All-Star Game, for the second year in a row, became more about honoring a retiring New York Yankees legend than the game itself.
Derek Jeter made his 14th and final All-Star Game a memorable one, going 2-for-2 and helping the American League earn a 5-3 victory over the National League on Tuesday night at Target Field.
The shortstop started a three-run run first inning with a double. He also singled in the third, then took his position in the field to start the fourth inning. AL manager John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox sent out Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez to replace Jeter, who received a long ovation.
Jeter, who announced in February that he is retiring at the end of the season, doffed his cap to his crowd, then hugged each of his teammates once he returned to the dugout. With the fans asking for a curtain call, Jeter went in front of the dugout and tipped his cap again.
“I really appreciated the response, from the crowd and from the players on both teams,” Jeter said. “It was very humbling.”
Farrell planned Jeter’s exit in advance.
“We tried to get him two at-bats and then having him come out,” Farrell said. “You know what, he has a flair for the dramatic. Two base hits and scored the first run. It worked out pretty well.”
It was reminiscent of last year’s All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York, where Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was the focus of the festivities. Rivera was selected the game’s Most Valuable Player after pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save.
Jeter wasn’t the MVP this year, though.
Fittingly, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who seems poised to replace Jeter as the face of Major League Baseball, won the honor. He went 2-for-3 with two extra-base hits and two RBIs.
“Derek Jeter was my role model growing up,” Trout said. “To be the MVP in his last All-Star Game is really special to me.”
Trout’s double in the fifth inning off St. Louis Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek broke a 3-3 tie and proved to be the game-winning hit. Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve followed with a sacrifice fly off Washington Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard to make it 5-3.
Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy hit a pair of RBI doubles for the NL, and Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez also had two hits.
Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer got the win, and Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins earned the save. Neshek took the loss. Perkins and Neshek are both natives of the Twin Cities area.
Jeter sliced a double down the right field line to lead off the first on the second pitch from Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright, and he scored on a triple by Trout. One out later, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera blasted a two-run home run to left field to put the AL ahead 3-0.
Wainwright was tagged for three runs and three hits in his one inning, a day after NL manager Mike Matheny of the Cardinals chose his team’s ace as the starting pitcher over Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw. It was a decision that created some minor controversy considering that Kershaw recently had a 41-inning scoreless streak.
Wainwright told reporters after he left the game that he grooved a fastball to Jeter in hopes the veteran would get a hit. However, Wainwright backtracked from that statement later, and Matheny defended hm.
“I know that has been completely blown out of proportion and taken out of context,” Matheny said. “Anybody that knows anything about this guy knows that he’s one of the great competitors that’s played this game in a long time.
“It’s a shame in this game when people are looking for people with personalities to maybe not be so drab and bland like me, and actually mix in some personality and some humor … and it’s taken completely out of context and run all over social media. It’s an absolute shame.”
Kershaw followed Wainwright by pitching a perfect second inning.
After Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez threw a scoreless first inning for the AL, the NL scored twice in the second off the Red Sox’s Jon Lester. Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Lucroy hit back-to-back RBI doubles.
Lucroy hit a run-scoring double in the fourth off White Sox left-hander Chris Sale to tie the score at 3-3.
NOTES: Oakland Athletics RHP Jeff Samardzija was a man without a country as he suited up with the National League team, even though he is now playing in the American League. He was voted into the game by NL players before being traded by the Chicago Cubs on July 4, but he was deemed ineligible to play by Major League Baseball. … Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who won seven AL batting titles with the Minnesota Twins, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Next year’s All-Star Game will be played at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.