Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez Clinched the All-Star Game for the American League
Thankfully, for the 14th straight year, the MLB All-Star Game did not end in a tie. Breathe easy, America.
Backed by home runs from the game's MVP, Kansas City's Eric Hosmer as well as catcher Salvador Perez, the American League beat the National League 4-2, earning their fourth straight Midsummer Classic victory. And with the win, the Junior Circuit secured home-field advantage in the World Series for the fourth straight season.
How important is getting home field in the Fall Classic? Six of the last seven champs have had home field in the World Series -- and nine of 13 overall, since the rule was put into place in 2003, the year after the All-Star Game tie.
And since 1985, the team with home-field advantage has won 24 of the past 30 World Series. The only exceptions are the 1992 and 1999 Braves, the 2003 Yankees, the 2006 Tigers, the 2008 Rays, and the 2014 Royals.
Hosmer, Perez, and the Royals
Hosmer went 2-for-2 with a solo home run off former teammate Johnny Cueto in the 2nd inning and was named the MVP, while fellow Royal Perez added a two-run shot later in the inning off his former teammate.
These two know all about #WorldSeries home-field advantage.
No wonder they went deep. #ASG, pres. by @MasterCardhttps://t.co/DpaqSyKmxn
— MLB (@MLB) July 13, 2016
Hosmer and Perez became the first pair of teammates to homer in the All-Star Game since David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez did it in 2004 and the first to do it in the same inning since former Dodgers Steve Garvey and Jim Wynn in 1975 (according to Elias).
Hosmer and Perez made some other history as well.
The other was Alfonso Soriano off Roger Clemens at the 2004 All-Star Game (via @EliasSports) https://t.co/dC1jiFfJdx
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 13, 2016
Both are members of the defending champs, but at 45-43 entering the All-Star break, 7 games back in the American League Central and 4 1/2 games back of the American League Wild Card, the Royals have some work to do in order to take advantage of that hard earned home-field advantage.
Cueto and the Giants
Cueto, meanwhile, certainly didn't help his team's cause.
The San Francisco Giants entered the break at 57-33, the best record in baseball, and appear headed for yet another even-year World Series appearance. Their 96.6% chance at the playoffs is the best in the bigs, and their 8.6% chance at a World Series win ranks sixth.
Frankly, baseball virtually bequeaths them a World Series title every even year now, so it's probably inevitable. The Giants have won it all in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
The game had a lot of action early. Chicago's Kris Bryant, the National League's first-half MVP who leads the National League in home runs with 25, and in fWAR, at 5.0, went deep with a solo shot in the first inning off the White Sox' Chris Sale, giving the National League a brief 1-0 lead.
National League bats went silent once again this year. In their four-game losing streak, they've scored a grand total of eight runs and haven't scored more than three runs in any of those contests. Their best opportunity to stage a rally came in the top of the 8th inning when, with the bases loaded and down 4-2, St. Louis' outstanding rookie Aledmys Diaz, faced Houston reliever Will Harris with the bases loaded and two outs.
.@willharris15 – professional painter. https://t.co/YJxX8k1O91 @TheHartford #PrevailingMoments pic.twitter.com/SPn5A1ybfO
— MLB (@MLB) July 13, 2016
And it sure seemed as if manager Ned Yost's strategy to load his pitching staff with experienced relief pitchers paid off, with Kelvin Herrera, Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, Harris and Zach Britton holding the other side scoreless over the last four innings. Betances' inning of work was particularly fun to watch.
Betances threw three pitches that topped 100 miles per hour, including his second-hardest pitch of the year, a fastball that ramped up to 101.3, according to Statcast. Poor 'lil Corey Seager.
Another Corey, Cleveland's Corey Kluber, picked up the "win" for the AL, thanks to a scoreless second inning, making a little franchise history along the way.
.@CKluber picks up the #ASG win, the first @Indians pitcher to do so since …
Bartolo Colon (!) in 1998 (!). pic.twitter.com/uWEswwThiF
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) July 13, 2016
So, the American League will once again have home-field advantage in the Fall Classic, great news for division leaders Baltimore, Cleveland, Texas, and the assorted American League wild card teams in the mix.
And don't count out those Royals, either.