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Justin Morneau slid home on Michael Young's sacrifice fly in the 15th inning yesterday to give the American League a 4-3 victory over the National League, extending its All-Star unbeaten streak to 12.
In a game that started yesterday night and faded well into today, Mr. Young ended a 4-hour, 40-minute marathon at 1:37 a.m. local time, with Yankee Stadium half-empty. It was a good thing, too — neither team had any pitchers left in the bullpen.
Slated for extinction, Yankee Stadium got perhaps its final moment in the U.S. spotlight, hosting the All-Star as part of its grand send-off.
The NL was given a pre-ame pep talk by Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, whose motto is: "Let's play two!" And they nearly did, matching the longest All-Star game ever.
Mr. Morneau started the winning rally with a leadoff single against loser Brad Lidge, and Ian Kinsler hit a low liner to left that Ryan Ludwick caught with a dive. After Dioner Navarro singled, J.D. Drew walked to load the bases.
Mr. Young lofted a fly to right and Cory Hart's throw home took two bounces and was slightly to the first-base side of the plate. Catcher Brian McCann gloved the ball and tried a sweep tag, but Mr. Young sneaked his right foot in, barely ahead of the tag. Plate umpire Derryl Cousins made the safe call, and the AL players left in the dugout rushed out to celebrate.
"Yankee Stadium is tough, I'm telling you," Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said. "Didn't want it to end." The AL improved to 6-0 since the All-Star game began determining home-field advantage in the World Series. And it even ended an old curse — it had been 0-9-1 in extra innings against its older rival.
Mr. Young got the winning hit off Trevor Hoffman in the 2006 All-Star game at Pittsburgh, and it gave the win to Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir, the 12th AL pitcher.
Mr. Drew was picked as the Most Valuable Player, with his two-run homer in the seventh making it 2-2. Being from Boston, he was booed by the New York crowd when presented with his trophy.
"One of those undescribable events," Mr. Drew said. "To be voted in by the players and to be in this position is really an honor." The only other AL player with an All-Star ending RBI was Red Sox great Ted Williams, who hit a three-run, ninth-inning homer in 1941.
This game tied the NL's 2-1, 15-inning victory in 1967 at Anaheim. It made the AL 10-0-1 since its 1996 loss in Philadelphia and narrowed its overall deficit to 40-37-2.
Matt Holliday and Mr. Drew hit home runs. Houston shortstop Miguel Tejada made a great, falling throw on a slow grounder to deny the AL a win in the 10th after a pair of ugly errors by Dan Uggla, who made a record three botches in all.
The AL stranded the potential winning run at third base in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings. Mr. Uggla twice stranded what would have been the go-ahead run on third.
Colorado's Aaron Cook wiggled out of bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 10th. Grady Sizemore and Evan Longoria grounded into forceouts at the plate, and Mr. Tejada made a charging, flying throw to get Mr. Morneau on a slow grounder.
In the 11th, Pittsburgh center fielder Nate McLouth made a perfect throw to nail Mr. Navarro at the plate on Mr. Young's single, with Dodgers catcher Russell Martin applying the tag.
The NL loaded the bases with one out in the 12th before Kansas City's Joakim Soria struck out Mr. Uggla, and Baltimore's George Sherrill fanned Adrian Gonzalez.
Boston's Jonathan Papelbon gave up a leadoff single to Mr. Tejada, and was booed. Mr. Tejada stole second with, went to third as Mr. Navarro's throw went into center field for an error and scored on Mr. Gonzalez's sacrifice fly.
Mr. Wagner relieved with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, gave up a single to Mr. Sizemore, who stole second and scored on a ground-rule double down the left-field line by Mr. Longoria.
It was the eighth All-Star game in New York and the fourth at Yankee Stadium. In the previous one, Joe Morgan homered on the sixth pitch and the NL took a 4-0 first-inning lead en route to 7-5 win.
A sellout crowd of 55,632 came to honor the 85-year-old ballpark, home to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and the most glittering lineup of greats any team can boast.
"It was pretty special. When I was running from the bullpen to the mound, I was a little bit shaking," said the Chicago Cubs' Carlos Zambrano, who pitched two scoreless innings. "I said, 'Man, six, seven years in the big leagues and you still feel butterflies in your stomach."' Before the game, 49 Hall of Famers led by Yogi Berra and Gary Carter walked in from the bullpens in left-center to their former positions, waved to the sellout crowd and stood as the All-Stars assumed flanking positions alongside them during a half-hour ceremony.
This program aired on July 16, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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