NL shuts down AL's big bats, but not Young's

Updated: July 12, 2006, 1:54 AM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Ichiro Suzuki and Derek Jeter: All were big zeros in the All-Star Game.

It took Michael Young to deliver the big hit for the American League.

 Michael Young
Young

The AL's big bats were shut down by a collection of relatively lesser-known National League pitchers until the final inning. Young, the reigning AL batting champion, smacked a two-run, two-out triple to center off Trevor Hoffman to deflate an NL-partisan crowd and provide the difference in a 3-2 win Tuesday night.

"If you looked at the matchups, the offense against the pitching, you could make a case that it could have been a higher-scoring game," NL manager Phil Garner said.

Not on this night. The pitchers had the upper hand.

Brandon Webb foiled the AL with his sinkerball, getting Jeter way out in front on one swinging strike. Brian Fuentes made Suzuki wave weakly before getting him to bounce out harmlessly to third.

"That's one of those things when we face guys for the first time, we don't know what they have," Jeter said.

Vladimir Guerrero provided all the AL's offense until the ninth with a home run in the second inning off Brad Penny that put the AL in front 1-0. That was the only blemish for the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, who had an otherwise good night by striking out Suzuki, Jeter and Ortiz in the first.

The NL bullpen pitched six scoreless inning until Hoffman's blowup in the ninth.

"Every guy who came out of the bullpen pitched real well. We were all prepared, and it was a pitchers' duel," said reliever Derrick Turnbow, who tossed a scoreless seventh. "We played our hearts out all game and we gave it everything we had."

Defense helped, too.

Hometown favorite Jason Bay of the Pirates snared a low line drive just above his feet to get Suzuki out in the third. Freddy Sanchez, also of the Pirates, made a sweet grab of Mark Loretta's liner in the fifth, leaping and extending his glove hand high above his head for an out.

Garner, who also played infield while in Pittsburgh, was asked to grade Sanchez.

"He's a much better player than I was," Garner said. "It's kind of fun to put Freddy on the team."

Then came the ninth, and Young's big hit off Hoffman, who is closing in on Lee Smith's career saves record of 478. Young walked off with the MVP Award.

The top four hitters in the AL's starting lineup -- Suzuki, Jeter, Ortiz and Rodriguez -- went a combined 0-for-10.

"It was good pitching, it was good pitching," said the White Sox's Jim Thome, who grounded out in a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth. "When you get guys that can throw, it goes well."

AL outfielder Jermaine Dye, Thome's teammate in Chicago, wasn't surprised.

"You know, it's baseball," said Dye, who went 0-for-1. "It's the All-Star Game. Everyone at the All-Star Game is going to be good."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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