BOSTON (CBS) — Despite only having two players in the game, both pitchers, the Boston Red Sox had their fingerprints all over the Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game.
With manager John Farrell and his staff manning the bench in the 5-3 win by the American League, both Jon Lester and Koji Uehara found their way into the midsummer classic.
Lester, who went 9-7 with a 2.65 ERA in the first half of the season for Boston, was called upon to replace starter Felix Hernandez in the top of the second inning. He entered with a 3-0 lead, but after getting Marlins All-Star Giancarlo Stanton to pop out for the inning’s first out, Lester surrendered a single to Milwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez and back-to-back doubles to Philadelphia’s Chase Utley and Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy, plating two runs for the National League.
Despite giving up two runs in his only inning of work, Lester said he enjoyed his third trip to the All-Star game.
“I made a couple mistakes and obviously they’re here for a reason. They put some good swings on balls. Luckily I got out of there still with the lead,” he told reporters after the game, according to the Red Sox website. “That was the main thing. I had fun. It was a good time.
“Any time you get to run out on this field with these guys, it humbles you,” continued Lester. “It makes you just enjoy this even more. Getting to be a part of this, getting to be in the clubhouse with these guys, you just walk around the room, you’ve got future Hall of Famers all over the place. It’s an awesome experience that I definitely always remember.”
Uehara found his way into the game in the top of the sixth, and he faced just one batter. The Boston closer entered with a 5-3 lead and a runner on third with two outs, and in typical Uehara-fashion, struck out Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco on four pitches.
Uehara said he was so nervous in his first All-Star game that he didn’t get to enjoy it, but those nerves did not show on the mound.
“First pitch fastball, then three splits,” Uehara said through a translator. “That was it. I had enough fun there.”
Uehara spoke with Farrell prior to the game and said he didn’t want the ball if there was a save situation for the AL. Instead, that honor went to Twins closer and Minnesota native Glen Perkins, and Farrell was happy to give the local kid the honors.
“I thought it was fitting that Glen Perkins and [Twins catcher Kurt] Suzuki are pairing up and teaming up to close this out,” said Farrell. “I felt it kind of worked in our favor. It fell in our laps a little bit to showcase two hometown guys and send this game off the right way.”
But when it was all said and done and the AL had clinched home-field advantage in the World Series, Farrell was pleased with the performance of Boston’s two All Star players.
“Against a star-studded lineup, Koji does what he’s done so much, which is come in and get a key strikeout,” said Farrell. “Jon got his inning of work in, much like we had lined out for every starting pitcher to do just that. So they are able to say they walked away from this game knowing they were in it and able to contribute to a win.”
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