Giancarlo Stanton and Byron Buxton hit back-to-back home runs in fourth inning off Dodgers right-hander Tony Gonsolin to give the American League a 3-2 victory over the National League in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Tuesday evening at Dodger Stadium.
Stanton, the New York Yankees outfielder who graduated from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, was selected as the recipient of the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award for his two-run homer to left-center field on an 0-2 splitter that also drove in Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez, who had singled leading off the inning.
Buxton, a Minnesota Twins outfielder, homered on a 2-1 four-seam fastball four pitches after Stanton’s homer before a crowd announced at 52,518 for the first All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium since 1980.
The victory was the ninth straight for the American League, extending its longest winning streak and increasing its lead in the series to 47-43. There have been two ties.
Houston Astros right-hander Framber Valdez, the third American League pitcher, pitched a perfect third for the victory. Cleveland right-handed closer Emmanuel Clase struck out the final three batters on a combined 10 pitches for the save.
Gonsolin was charged with the loss, the fourth time a Dodger has been charged with the loss during the American League’s nine-game winning streak. Clayton Kershaw was charged with the loss in 2015 and 2019 and Ross Stripling in 2018.
The National League opened the scoring in the first. Ronald AcuÃ±a of the Atlanta Braves led off with a ground rule double off Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Shane McClanahan. The next batter, Mookie Betts, one of the six Los Angeles Dodgers on the National League team, singled to drive in AcuÃ±a in what would be his only at-bat. The lead was the National League’s first in an All-Star Game since 2016.
After San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado hit into a double play, Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals hit a 2-0 four-seam fastball over the left-center field fence for a home run, giving the National League its first two-run lead since 2012, the most recent time it won an All-Star Game.
Trea Turner, the third Dodger in the National League starting lineup, followed Goldschmidt’s homer with a single. It would be the last hit for the National League until Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves singled leading off the eighth inning as McClanahan and seven relievers combined to pitch 6 1/3 hitless innings.
Kershaw made the first All-Star Game start of his illustrious 15-season major league career. He was the 13th pitcher in the 92 All-Star Games to start at his home stadium and first since Max Scherzer, then of the Washington Nationals, in 2018.
After going hitless in three at-bats against Kershaw Friday, striking out twice, Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hit Kershaw’s first pitch for a broken bat single into center field, the first player to lead off an All-Star Game with a hit since Mike Trout in 2015 and the first with a hit on the first pitch since Trout in 2013.
Kershaw then picked off Ohtani.
“I just kind of lobbed it over there,” Kershaw said. “I didn’t know what pitch to throw yet, so just kind of giving myself a second and I got him.”
Kershaw struck out the second batter he faced, New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge. Kershaw then walked Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers on a full count. The final batter Kershaw faced, Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero, grounded into an inning-ending force out.
“It was fun,” Kershaw said. “I tried to take a minute at the beginning to take it all in and look around, which I usually never do. And I think the moment itself, being here at Dodger Stadium, a place where I’ve been now for 15 years, and to get to do something like this with the best in the world, is really fun, and it was also really personal for me and my family.”
Left-hander Tyler Anderson was the only one of the six Dodgers on the National League roster who did not play. Freddie Freeman grounded out as a pinch-hitter for Goldschmidt in the third.
The six selections matched the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves for the game high.
Ohtani walked in the third inning in his other plate appearance.
Ohtani was the lone Angel to play. Trout was also voted in as a starter, but pulled out of the game Saturday due to lingering back spasms. Trout hasn’t played since being pulled from last Tuesday’s 6-5 loss to the Astros before the start of the fifth inning. He was placed on the 10-day injured list Monday, retroactive to last Wednesday because of left ribcage inflammation. He is eligible to be activated Saturday.
The All-Star Game came to Dodger Stadium two years later than planned. MLB awarded the 2020 game to Los Angeles in 2018 but it was canceled due to the delayed start of the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In connection with the cancellation, the next available All-Star Game, which was for 2022, was awarded to Los Angeles.
Between the two All-Star Games at Dodger Stadium, the game was played in 37 stadiums, including three stadiums that hosted two times — what is now Angel Stadium, Cleveland’s Progressive Field and Coors Field in Denver.
Since the mid-1960s, MLB has had an inclination to award All-Star Games to recently constructed stadiums where the game had never been played before. Every All-Star Game from 2000 through 2007 and 2013 through 2018 was played at a first-time venue.