NEW YORK CITY (AFP) – Mariano Rivera earned MVP honors after a flawless eighth inning to lead the American League to a 3-0 win over the National League in the Major League Baseball all-star game.
The New York Yankee star and the rest of the American League pitchers had a three-hit shutout in Tuesday’s 84th edition of the Midsummer Classic.
“Priceless, again priceless,” said Rivera, who was given the keys to a 2014 blue Chevrolet Corvette Stingray for his efforts. “There is nothing better than this. I appreciate every bit of it.”
The 2013 all-star game turned into a pitching duel with the American League using a half dozen hurlers, including the 43-year-old Panamanian who was appearing in his 13th all-star contest.
Rivera, who usually enters in the ninth for his New York Yankees, joined the game in the eighth and easily dispatched all three batters he faced.
Rivera got a standing ovation from not only the boisterous crowd at Citi Field stadium — the home of the New York Mets — but players and managers from both teams who came out of their dugouts to cheer him.
Rivera said he spoke to AL manager Jim Leyland about doing something special before Tuesday’s game. As is the tradition in Yankee Stadium, Rivera left the bullpen and jogged on to the field to the sounds of the “Enter Sandman” song by the Los Angeles rock band Metallica.
“It was special. To see the fans cheering and both teams standing out of the dugouts, managers, coaches and players,” Rivera said.
Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale breezed through two innings to collect the victory, while Jason Kipnis, Jose Bautista and J.J. Hardy each finished with an RBI in the victory.
“Those guys on the National League side they have a lot of great pitching over there,” AL outfielder Torii Hunter said. “But we got three runs off those great pitchers and Mariano came in and he is one of the best pitchers to ever play this game.”
There was more at stake Tuesday night than just Rivera’s legacy and bragging rights. With the win the AL gets home-field advantage in the World Series.
Arizona’s Patrick Corbin surrendered a run in the fourth inning to take the loss behind Matt Harvey, who got the starting spot in front of the hometown New York Mets fans. Corbin was one of a record 39 first-time players.
The AL pitchers went into the game knowing they had to be good because prior to Tuesday the AL had only managed two runs in the last three all-star games.
The loss also ended the NL’s all-star win streak at three games.
The New York Yankees were given a scare early when second baseman Robinson Cano had to leave the game in the first inning after being hit by a pitch thrown by Harvey.
Cano walked off the field on his own and was replaced by Dustin Pedroia on the basepads.
Officials said he suffered a right quad contusion but no broken bones.
Next year’s all-star game will be contested at Target Field in Minnesota.
Photo Credit: AFP