RBI hits by Prince Fielder and Lorenzo Cain broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the fifth inning, and the American League went on to a 6-3 win over the National League in the 86th MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati Tuesday night.
The result gives the American League champion home-field advantage in this October's World Series for the third consecutive year. The AL also drew within two wins of the NL in the all-time All-Star Game results race. The National League has won 43 of the 86 Midsummer Classics, with the American League capturing 41. The game has ended in a tie twice, in 1961 and 2002.
The American League got off to the perfect start in the top of the first when Angels star Mike Trout hit a leadoff home run in the All-Star Game for the first time since 1977. Trout sent a 94 mile-per-hour fastball from NL starter Zack Greinke the opposite way, just muscling it over the right field wall to give the AL a 1-0 lead. It was the first run Greinke had allowed since June 13.
"It's not easy," Greinke said of pitching to Trout. "You've got like a 2-inch window up in the zone. If you throw it higher than that, he takes it. If you throw it lower he does what he did."
Trout, one of six starting position players under 25, earned game MVP honors for the second straight year. He also became one of just ten players in the game's history to complete a career cycle in the Midsummer Classic.
Another All-Star to have turned that trick was Fielder. The Texas Rangers slugger sent Trout home with a single off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw with two outs in the fifth to give the AL the lead for good. Kansas City's Cain followed with an RBI double to make the score 3-1, AL, at the game's halfway point.
Houston's Dallas Keuchel, the AL starter with the long, bushy beard, let the National League on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second after Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt led off with a bouncer to third, reaching on an infield single and taking second as Toronto's Josh Donaldson threw wildly. Goldschmidt moved to third on Buster Posey's groundout and Jhonny Peralta, an All-Star for the St. Louis Cardinals after serving a 50-game drug suspension two years ago, dumped a two-out single into right field.
"It was the most amped up I've ever been," the Houston star said. "It was just the atmosphere -- the greatest players ever, Pete Rose, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays."
Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates homered off Tampa Bay's Chris Archer in the sixth, cutting the gap to 3-2. But the AL answered in the top of the seventh, as Baltimore's Manny Machado, at 23 another of the sport's fresh faces, hit a double off the right-field wall against Francisco Rodriguez and scored on Fielder's sacrifice fly to make the score 4-2.
The AL added one more run in the inning on another sac fly before Minnesota's Brian Dozier, the last player added to the game as an injury replacement, hit a solo home run off Pittsburgh's Mark Melancon in the eighth to cap the scoring for the junior circuit.
Stars old and young gathered for the occasion in one of baseball's most traditional towns. The Reds became baseball's first professional team in 1869, and players wore caps with horizontal stripes in an attempt at a 19th century feel.
Rose, Cincinnati's hometown hero and baseball's banned career hits leader, was given an 80-second ovation when he walked onto the field before the game to join Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin, elected by fans as the Reds' greatest players. Wearing a red jacket and tie and walking stiffly, the now 74-year-old Charlie Hustle was applauded as soon as his image appeared on the video boards, even before he emerged from the AL dugout.
And in the first All-Star Game at Great American Ballpark, which opened in 2003, fans got to see some great ballplayers.
Bench, changing into a blue jacket, returned with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax, voted baseball's great living players by fans as part of a promotion. In a sentimental yet stunning reminder of generational change, Aaron, 81, and Morgan, 71, needed canes to reach the infield, and Mays, 84, was aided on and off the field by an assistant.
Above the field, new Commissioner Rob Manfred watched from a luxury suite, the first All-Star Game not presided over by Bud Selig since 1992.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.