Rangers All-Stars nearly put AL over top
Vlad, Hamilton, Lee, Kinsler, Andrus see action in Anaheim
ANAHEIM -- The Rangers are known for their big moments in the All-Star Game. The stage was set for one more on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.The American League trailed, 3-1, in the bottom of the ninth, as Ian Kinsler walked to the plate. The AL had a runner on first with two outs. Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton was on the mound for the National League.
"It was set up for Rangers heroics," Texas slugger Josh Hamilton said. "I felt good about that with Kins up, especially with [Broxton] throwing heat. Kins likes heat."Kinsler was looking for a fastball. "I knew I was going to get a fastball eventually," Kinsler said. "I was looking for one in the middle of the plate." Broxton threw a 99-mph fastball. Kinsler swung and drove it to right-center. But not far enough, as center fielder Chris Young ran it down to end the game." "He gave it to me, I just got it off the end of the bat a little bit," Kinsler said. That ended the night, as the Rangers were all over the All-Star Game. They just didn't have many big moments, but five of their six representatives got into the affair. Only reliever Neftali Feliz did not get any action. The American League used 10 of 13 pitchers -- including Cliff Lee -- with Feliz, Joakim Soria and Fausto Carmona still left at the end. Of course if Kinsler goes deep and ties the game, Feliz would have been used in extra innings in the heat of an intense battle. "If they had given me the opportunity to pitch, I would have gone out there and done my job," Feliz said. "They could have depended on me." Lee had the most impressive night of the six Rangers, even if he wasn't out there very long. The new Texas lefty entered the game in the fourth inning and retired the side in order on six pitches. Braves second baseman Martin Prado swung at Lee's first pitch and grounded out to shortstop Derek Jeter. That brought up Albert Pujols, the Cardinals three-time MVP first baseman. Lee struck him out on three straight pitches. Lee threw a first-pitch ball to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and then got him on a grounder to second baseman Robinson Cano to end the inning. "Very impressive," Hamilton said. "That's the kind of pitcher he is," Kinsler said. "He doesn't change for anyone or any game. He has confidence in his pitches, and he throws strikes." Hamilton, who was 1-for-3 at the plate, ran into some tough luck. He batted with runners at the corners with one out in the first against NL starter Ubaldo Jimenez and hit a sharp grounder back to the mound. Jimenez snagged it and threw to second to start an inning-ending double play. "I still hit that one pretty good," Hamilton said. Hamilton came up again in the fourth and hit a slicing line drive down the left-field line, where Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun raced over and made a terrific diving catch. Elvis Andrus made his first All-Star appearance in the sixth inning when he pinch-ran for Derek Jeter, who had led off with a single against Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay. With Paul Konerko at the plate, Andrus broke on a 1-2 pitch. Konerko swung and missed while Andrus beat a high throw from catcher Brian McCann. But Andrus' popup slide left him off the bag as second baseman Brandon Phillips leaped to grab the throw. Andrus then looked around to see what happened and was tagged out by Phillips. "I felt so great tonight -- my legs felt better than they have since Opening Day -- that I just kept going," Andrus said. "I couldn't keep my foot on the base. I just kept going. When I got up, I was already past the base." That may have cost the American League a run, because Hamilton followed with a single to right field. That was it for Hamilton, as Jose Baustista pinch-ran for him. Vladimir Guerrero had a quick night, too. He struck out and grounded out as the American League's starting designated hitter before being replaced by David Ortiz. Guerrero, during the pregame introductions did get a huge ovation from a crowd of 45,408 fans who have fond memories of his six years with the Angels. He also got to use his old locker in the home clubhouse. "I'm really happy," Guerrero said. "They gave me my old place where I used to be, and that's pretty cool. It's a good thing it's in Anaheim. I'm glad to be back here. It feels good to be back in the All-Star Game."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.