For the second time in four years, Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard is at the all-star game. Clippard’s first experience — when he allowed a hit to the only batter he faced, yet earned the win back in 2011 — will be both difficult and easy to top.
Here’s a year-by-year look at how the Nationals’ all-star representatives have fared in the Midsummer Classic. (You can test your Nats all-star knowledge with our interactive ballot.)
Livan Hernandez entered the game in the fourth inning with the National League trailing 3-0. After getting Mark Teixeira to pop out, he walked Jason Varitek and allowed a ground-rule double to Brian Roberts. Ichiro Suzuki followed with a two-run single, but Hernandez escaped further damage by getting Alex Rodriguez to fly out and then picking off Suzuki.
“In a whirl of feet and a flash of spikes, Hernandez whipped his 220 pounds around and fired a ball to Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee as the stunned Ichiro stumbled and crawled back to the base,” Les Carpenter wrote of the Nationals’ first (great?) all-star moment.
Washington’s other all-star representative, Chad Cordero, faced Detroit fan favorite Ivan Rodriguez with two outs and a runner on second in the eighth inning. The Chief struck Pudge out on an 84-mph slider.
“That’s pretty cool,” Cordero told reporters after the game.
Alfonso Soriano, who led off and started in left field, flied out in his first at-bat against Kenny Rogers. Soriano singled off Roy Halladay in the third inning, stole second and was thrown out trying to score on a single by Carlos Beltran.
Dmitri Young pinch hit with two outs and nobody on in the eighth inning and, in true Meathook fashion, singled off J.J. Putz. Alfonso Soriano — at that point a Cub — followed with a home run to cut the American League’s lead to 5-4, but the NL could not complete the comeback.
Cristian Guzman entered the game as a pinch runner in the ninth inning of a 3-3 game and was caught stealing as part of a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play. Guzman flied out in the 11th inning, failed to advance the runner on a sacrifice bunt attempt in the 13th and grounded out with a man on first base to end the top of the 15th. The American League won the game in the bottom of the inning and Guzman could’ve been named MVP.
In his only all-star game appearance, Ryan Zimmerman flied out against Edwin Jackson and Joe Nathan in two at-bats.
With the National League trailing 1-0, Matt Capps entered the game to face David Ortiz with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. After falling behind 2-0, Capps struck out Ortiz to end the inning.
“I talked to [Phillies and National League manager Charlie Manuel] and [Braves catcher Brian] McCann when they gave me the ball, about what I wanted to do,” Capps said. “And I said if we got ahead, we’d throw a front-door sinker, and that’s what I threw for strike three.”
The National League scored three runs in the top of the seventh and Capps earned the win, the NL’s first since 1996.
Tyler Clippard replaced Cliff Lee in the top of the fourth inning with the American League leading 1-0 and runners on first and second with two outs. Clippard threw three pitches and allowed a single to Adrian Beltre, but Hunter Pence threw out Jose Bautista at home. The NL would score three runs in the bottom of the inning and held on to win, making a Nationals player the winning pitcher for a second consecutive year.
“It was the definition of a vulture,” Clippard said of his win. “I’ll take it.”
Gio Gonzalez retired all three batters he faced in the third inning, including one via strikeout.
Stephen Strasburg, who replaced Gonzalez to start the fourth, allowed a leadoff single to Robinson Cano before getting Josh Hamilton to ground into a double play. Strasburg walked Jose Bautista before Prince Fielder lined out to end the inning.
Bryce Harper walked to lead off the fifth inning against Jered Weaver and struck out in the seventh against Ryan Cook.
Ian Desmond did not play.
Bryce Harper lined out against Chris Sale and popped out against Grant Balfour in his two at-bats.
Jordan Zimmermann did not pitch.