Ultimate All-Star Game: Williams wins it for AL in 11th

Originally Published: July 11, 2006
ESPN.com

Ultimate Ending
Diamond Mind Baseball played our Ultimate All-Star Game 100 times with the computer manager handling all of the substitutes and tactical decisions. The AL stars won 60 times, the NL 40. Combining the 100 games, the AL outscored the NL 512-445.

Four of the 100 games ended with the AL winning 5-4, but Diamond Mind chose a 6-5, 11-inning verdict as the representative outcome for a few reasons -- a ninth-inning rally to tie the score, a heroic ending and an interesting Bonds-related moment.

Key links
• Box score, play-by-play
• Rob Neyer's All-Star selections
• Your all-time AL team
• Your all-time NL team
BOSTON -- It's only fitting that the greatest Red Sox player ever would win an all-time All-Star showdown at Fenway Park.

Ted Williams' one-out, RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning scored George Brett to give the American League All-Stars a 6-5 victory over the National Leaguers 6-5 in ESPN.com's Ultimate All-Star Game.

Brett opened the 11th with a single to left field off losing pitcher Trevor Hoffman, and moved to second on Carlton Fisk's infield hit. After Eddie Collins struck out, pinch-hitter Nap Lajoie rapped a single to left to load the bases. Williams, who'd been 0-for-4 in the game, then lined a 2-1 offering from Hoffman to right field for the AL victory.

Honus Wagner sent the game into extra innings when he slugged a dramatic two-run home run off AL closer Dennis Eckersley to tie the game 5-5. Eck came on to close out the victory for AL starter Pedro Martinez, but he issued a rare leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Arky Vaughan before Wagner's tape-measure blast over the Green Monster on a 2-2 pitch.

The NL jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning off Martinez, getting a sacrifice fly from Willie Mays and a two-run triple from Stan Musial.

NL starter Greg Maddux was in command through five innings, allowing one run in the second inning on Yogi Berra's run-scoring infield hit.

But the AL chased Maddux with four runs in the sixth inning. Mickey Mantle led off the inning with a towering solo home run to right field, cutting the NL lead to 3-2. Then after Lou Gehrig singled to left and Alex Rodriguez walked, Brett sent Maddux to the showers with a two-run triple to the gap in left-center field as the AL took its first lead of the game.

Ted Williams
AP PhotoTed Williams earned the game ball for his game-winning hit.
Berra completed the AL's four-run frame with a sacrifice fly off reliever Randy Johnson for a 5-3 lead.

In the top of the 11th the NL had a scoring opportunity with two outs, when Mays lined a double to right-center field. The AL chose to intentionally walk Barry Bonds, giving him his third pass of the game, to face Hank Aaron, but the all-time home run leader went down swinging against Joe Nathan, who pitched the final two innings for the victory.

Wagner was the game's hitting star, finishing with four hits and a double short of the cycle. Meanwhile, Brett paced the AL's 13-hit attack with three hits, while Gehrig, Mantle and Babe Ruth chipped in two apiece.

Martinez settled down after the rough first inning, shutting out the NL over his final six innings of work. He allowed eight hits and three runs, striking out eight and walking three. Mariano Rivera followed with a scoreless eighth inning before Eck's blown save in the ninth.

For the NL, Johnson and Billy Wagner combined to pitch four perfect innings in relief of Maddux before giving way to Hoffman, who pitched the final 1 1/3 innings.