Leesburg native Buster Posey strikes out to end the seventh inning during the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday at Citi Field in New York. Posey finished the game 0-for-1 but caught two innings during his second career ASG, which ended in a the 3-0 loss by the NL to the AL.
NEW YORK -- In his final All-Star Game appearance, Mariano Rivera stood on the mound -- the only player on the field.
Both teams remained in their dugouts and applauded as Rivera made his way to the mound in the eighth inning. Rivera, who is retiring after this season, doffed his cap to both dugouts and then waved his cap in every direction of Citi Field as the crowd roared.
Then Rivera proceeded to do something that no other relief pitcher has done -- be named the All-Star Game MVP. Rivera, the ninth of 10 pitchers used by the American League, retired the National League 1-2-3 in the eighth, and the AL stars went on to win, 3-0.
"It was tough. It was special," Rivera said. "To see the fans sharing and both teams standing out in the dugout, managers, coaches, players -- priceless. ... I've never been in a situation like this. The only difference is the World Series. Besides that, this has been right there."
Jose Bautista's sacrifice fly in the fourth inning provided all the offense the American League would need as the National Leaguers were held to just three hits.
The American League snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 39-43-2 all-time in the All-Star Game. The American League is 19-6-1 since 1988, though, and 8-3 since 2003, when the winner of the All-Star Game began receiving home-field advantage in the World Series.
The shutout for the American League was its first since a 2-0 win in 1990. Paul Goldschmidt's two-out double in the ninth ensured the National League would not tie the All-Star Game record for fewest hits, also set by the NL in the 1990 contest.
The National League was three-hit for the fourth time since 1995.
White Sox pitcher Chris Sale, who struck out two in two perfect innings and mystified NL hitters with his slider/fastball combination, earned the win.
"There was no other MVP in this stadium than Rivera," Sale said.
Arizona hurler Patrick Corbin, who went 11-1 in the first half, took the loss after allowing the American League's fourth-inning run.
But the night's most memorable moment of the evening occurred at 10:50 p.m., when Metallica's "Enter Sandman" began playing as Rivera jogged out of the American League bullpen to pitch the eighth inning.
"I wanted to pitch. You know the game of baseball," Rivera said. "Anything can happen. (Manager Jim) Leyland wanted to make sure that I pitch. It was a great idea. I appreciate him giving me the opportunity to do this, in New York, for the fans here. I think the plan was perfect."
Rivera set down the Brewers' Jean Segura (groundout to second base), the Cardinals' Allen Craig (lineout to left field) and the Brewers' Carlos Gomez (groundout to shortstop), preserving his career All-Star Game ERA at a perfect 0.00.
Once the inning ended, AL catcher Salvador Perez trotted out to shake Rivera's hand and first baseman Prince Fielder patted Rivera on the backside.
Rivera, the owner of a Major League record 638 saves during the regular season and an all-time record 42 more in the postseason, has also appeared in eight other Midsummer Classics. First baseman Prince Fielder planted the final out ball in Rivera's glove, and Rivera was embraced first by Justin Verlander, then all others in the visiting dugout.
Joe Nathan, who has the second-most saves among active pitchers with 328 -- a mere 310 behind Rivera --earned the save with a one-hit ninth.
The National League had just four baserunners, only two of whom got into scoring position. Andrew McCutchen, who entered as a pinch-runner for Carlos Beltran following Beltran's fourth-inning single, stole second and went to third on a ground out by Joey Votto.
But he was stranded when the Mets' David Wright grounded out to end the inning.
The NL's lone other serious threat occurred in the seventh, when Wright singled with one out off Greg Holland. But Blue Jays Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar struck out Dominic Brown and Buster Posey to end the inning.
Leesburg's Posey, the Giants' star catcher and reigning NL MVP, finished the game with the lone at-bat but did catch three innings in his second career All-Star appearance.
The American League added an insurance run in the eighth, when Perez and Jhonny Peralta singled. Perez went to third on Torii Hunter's double play grounder and scored on Jason Kipnis' double to left.