Bo Jackson’s leadoff homer in 1989. Pedro Martinez striking out five of the first six batters he faced in 1999 at Fenway Park. Sandy Alomar’s game-winning homer in 1997 at Progressive Field.
The AL won the 90th All-Star Game on Tuesday night, 4-3, at Progressive Field. But for as much action as there was on the field, this game should be remembered for what happened at the start of the sixth inning when MLB did its Stand Up To Cancer charity initiative.
Fans at Progressive Field were asked to stand, holding cards with the names of beloved cancer victims. In front of the AL dugout, the Tribe’s All-Star contingent of manager Terry Francona, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, Shane Bieber and Brad Hand stood. In the middle of them was right-hander Carlos Carrasco, diagnosed with leukemia in June. They showed Francona and his four players on the scoreboard, holding cards with Carrasco’s nickname, Cookie, on them as the crowd chanted “Cookie, Cookie, Cookie.”
On Carrasco’s sign was written, “I stand."
If you were looking for an All-Star moment, there it was.
Here’s another one. Bieber was named MVP of the All-Star Game. He’s the first Indian to receive that honor since Alomar in 1997.
Bieber came out of the bullpen in the fifth and struck out the the side in order on 19 pitches with the crowd yelling “Let’s Go Bieber. Let’s Go Bieber.” Santana started at first base and went 0-for-3, just missing a hit in his final at-bat. Lindor entered the game as a pinch hitter in fifth and went 0-for-2. Hand had tough in the eight, but got through it with the lead still intact.
“We were letting Cookie know that we’re right next to you, brother,” said Lindor. “We stand up for you. We’re all right next to you. You’re a family member. We love you and he’ll be fine. He’s got a lot of people backing him up.
“It was an emotional moment. You don’t want to ever see someone go through that, but he’s going through it. I turned around and said, ‘I love you, Cookie.’ He told me, ‘I love you, too.’ He’ll be fine.”
The sound of the crowd as the scoreboard lingered on the image of the five Indians players and their manager was impossible to ignore. It kept growing in volume as Santana put his arm around Carrasco, who was fighting back tears.
“The crowd was so supportive of Cookie,” said Santana. “I feel so bad for him and his family. This is hard thing for him and his family. Cleveland just did a great job for Cookie. A great job."
Former Tribe outfielder Michael Brantley, back at the ballpark he called home for 10 years, gave the AL a lead when he doubled home Houston teammate Alex Bregman in the second. Bregman singled in and out of Nolan Arenado’s glove at third with one out. Gary Sanchez flied out to center field before Brantley lined a 1-0 pitch from Clayton Kershaw to the wall in left center.
Brantley may have received the loudest ovation of any player on either team when he was introduced with the rest of the AL’s starting lineup.
“It was great,” said Brantley. "I just want the fans to know how appreciative I am for the way they treated me for the 10 years I was here. They made this game even more special for me.”
The AL made it 2-0 in the fifth as Gary Sanchez doubled off Walker Buehler. Austin Meadows moved him to third on a grounder to first. Jorge Polanco delivered Sanchez with a single off Max Muncy’s glove at second.
Charlie Blackmon put the NL back in the game, 2-1, with a two-out homer in the sixth. Blackmon hit a 1-0 fastball from Liam Hendricks over the center field wall.
The AL hung on for the win after that. They’ve won the last seven All-Star Games and 14 of the last 17. The AL leads overall, 45-43-2.
Oakland’s Matt Chapman walked to start the seventh. He moved to third on a single by White Sox catcher James McCann and scored a double play grounder by Xander Bogaerts to make it for a 3-1 lead. San Francisco’s Will Smith relieved Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff to face pinch-hitter Joey Gallo. Smith threw a first-pitch fastball that Gallo, one of 36 first-time All-Stars, lined into the right field seats for a 4-1 lead.
Hand, the Tribe’s closer and last All-Star to enter the game, started the eighth as AL manager Alex Cora said he would on Monday. Hand, who converted 23 of 24 save opportunities, struggled. He walked Yasmani Grandal and allowed a single to David Dahl to start the inning.
Jeff McNeil flied out to left, but Paul DeJong walked to load the bases. Hand struck out Blackmon, but Pete Alonso, Monday night’s Home Run Derby champ, lined a hard single off second baseman Gleyber Torres’ glove to make it 4-3. Torres was playing behind second base could not handle the liner. Hand escaped when Mike Moustakas hit a foul pop that McCann made a sprawling catch on in front of the AL dugout.
Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his first All-Star save, striking out the side.
The AL created a scoring chance in the first when George Springer hit a lead-off single. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt to DJ LeMahieu and a ground out by Mike Trout against left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu. It was Santana chance to come through in front of the hometown crowd, but he grounded out to short on a 2-1 pitch.
Arizona’s Ketel Marte opened the third with a double against Jose Berrios, but the Twins right-hander didn’t let him advance. He struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. and Christian Yelich before retiring Javier Baez on a fly ball to left.