Published July 13, 2005
DETROIT – Miguel Tejada (search), Mark Teixeira and their American League teammates gave a new-look All-Star game the same old result.
Tejada homered off John Smoltz (search) to start the scoring, Teixeira added a two-run drive off Dontrelle Willis and the AL overcame Kenny Rogers' bumpy inning to beat the NL 7-5 Tuesday night for its eighth straight win.
Mark Buehrle (search) got the victory with two scoreless innings for an AL staff that mostly made Comerica Park live up to its reputation as a pitcher's park in an era of hitter's havens. The AL had a shutout going into the seventh, when Rogers gave up a two-run homer to Andruw Jones, prompting more boos for the Texas lefty, playing while appealing a 20-game suspension.
The AL made it 3-0 since the change in 2003 that gave the All-Star-winning league homefield advantage in the World Series.
"We hope we make it this year," said Tejada, the Baltimore star who was selected the game's MVP.
Tejada, Teixeira and Buehrle were among 13 players getting their first All-Star starts in a game nothing like the famous 1971 classic about two miles away at Tiger Stadium. Eighteen future Hall of Famers played in that one, and six of them homered — including Reggie Jackson, who hit the stunning shot off the light tower on top of the roof.
The most famous player in this one was Houston's Roger Clemens, a month shy of his 43rd birthday. The Rocket, an All-Star for the 11th time, pitched a perfect fifth inning, retiring David Ortiz, Garret Anderson and Tejada. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner entered and exited to hundreds if not thousands of flashing camera bulbs aimed at him by the crowd of 41,617 in the wide, cavernous ballpark, which opened in 2000.
The most infamous player was the 40-year-old Rogers, who was booed loudly when introduced and tipped his cap to the crowd as he looked ahead stone-faced.
"I don't hold anything against anyone," Rogers said.
Rogers was penalized by baseball commissioner Bud Selig for an outburst last month that sent a television cameraman to the hospital and prompted a police investigation.
"I wanted to pitch," Rogers said. "I didn't pitch last year in the game, and I think at this stage in my career it's something that's not expected from me."
Exactly 50 years to the day after the funeral of Arch Ward, the Chicago Tribune editor who invented the All-Star game, the starters entered the field with Hollywood glitz, coming out from a red carpet set up behind the plate.
Smoltz dropped to 1-2 in All-Star play, tying the record for losses — he lost in '89 and got the NL's last victory in '96.
"This was certainly a fun one that I'll remember forever — to go out there in front of friends and family, in my hometown," Smoltz said. "I wanted to have fun — I wasn't going to get caught up in results."
Boston's Terry Francona, the AL manager, found his new closer, bringing in the Yankees' Mariano Rivera, who struck out Morgan Ensberg for the final out.
There were five double plays in the game, an All-Star record, including three turned by the AL. After Bobby Abreu, the record-setting winner of Monday's Home Run Derby, opened the game with sharp single to left off Buehrle, Tejada made a fancy flip to second base on Carlos Beltran's grounder to shortstop, starting the first of the double plays.
David Eckstein, the NL shortstop, threw out swift Johnny Damon from the outfield grass starting off the bottom half. Eckstein's father, Whitey, was hospitalized Sunday with a kidney ailment and was taken off a respirator a couple hours before the game.
Tejada homered off Smoltz leading off the second, a 436-foot drive that landed in the middle of the seats beyond the left-field bullpens — it would have been an easy home run even before the wall was brought in two years ago.
David Ortiz's RBI single to the base of the right-field wall and Tejada's RBI grounder made it 3-0 in the third against Roy Oswalt, and Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run off Livan Hernandez in the fourth.
Teixeira's homer in the sixth boosted the lead to 7-0 and was a bit of a shocker. While he leads the AL in home runs with 25, they all were hit off right-handers. The switch-hitter doesn't have any in 85 at-bats against lefties.
Jones, tied for the major league home-run lead with 27, hit his second All-Star homer following one in 2003. Miguel Cabrera added a run-scoring grounder off Joe Nathan in the eighth, and Luis Gonzalez hit an RBI double in the ninth off B.J. Ryan and scored on a grounder by Carlos Lee.
Notes: NL manager Tony La Russa of St. Louis dropped to 3-1 in All-Star play. He won three in a row for the AL as Oakland's manager. ... Houston's Brad Lidge struck out Melvin Mora, Mike Sweeney and Anderson in order in the seventh. ... The AL's winning streak wraps around the 7-7, 11-inning tie at Milwaukee in 2002. ... Rain started falling in the ninth inning, causing many in the crowd to leave their seats.