Even in the House that Big Mac built, the American League couldn't get a break and lost its seventh consecutive All-Star Game, and 15th of the last 16, to the National League, 7-3.
The capacity crowd of 51,549 at San Diego Stadium, home of McDonald's star Ray Kroc's Padres, roared its approval as the National League scored four runs in the eighth inning to win last night's game.
Key man for the Nationals was Los Angeles first baseman Steve Garvey, unanimous choice for game MVP, an honor he also won in 1974. Garvey's line single to left in the third inning scored two runs and tied the game at 3-3, but the best was yet to come.
Leading off the bottom of the eighth against New York Yankee reliever Rich Gossage, Gravey woke up the fans who had dozed through 4 1/2 scoreless innings by stroking a 1-2 pitch against the right-field wall for a triple. Three pitches later he scored the winning run when Gossage threw one all the way to the backstop while Dave Concepcion was at the plate.
It was a sad night for Gossage, who should have been happy because his appearance made him the first man to be in an All-Star Game as a player for the American, then National, then American League again. Besides Garvey's triple, he gave up three other hits and four runs. Better he should have stood in bed.
After Gravey scored, Cincinnati's Concepcion worked Gossage for a walk and went to third on San Diego outfielder Dave Winfield's single, Winfield advancing to second when left fielder Chet Lemon (Chicago) fumbled the ball. Concepcion and Winfield scored on Philadelphia catcher Bob Boone's single to center.
Boone went to second on Ron Cey's grounder and scored on Dave Lopes' single to right, keeping the Dodger flavor in the uprising.
Bruce Sutter of the Chicago Cubs was the winning pitcher.
Garvey has now hit in five straight All-Star games - a whopping eight hits in 16 times at bat - and is triple, following two by Rod Carew for the American League, set the All-Star Game record most triples by both clubs in one game. Yes, they keep records for things like that, they really do.
Carew's triples marked the high point for the American League, which scored three early runs and for a time seemed to be surprised by its own power and dominance.
Carew of Minnesota hit the game's third pitch from National League starter Vida Blue of San Francisco up the left-center alley for three-base hit number one. Kansas City's George Brett drove him in almost immediately with a double to practically the same spot. Brett moved to third on a fielder's choice and scored when Boston's Carlton Fisk hit a short sacrifice fly to outward-bound second baseman Joe Morgan of Cincinnati.
With Baltimore's Jim Palmer having things well in hand, the American League boldly added a run in the third, when Carew hit his second lead-off triple. This one was to the base of the center-field wall and again Brett scored him by hitting to the same spot, though this time he had to settle for a sacrifice fly.
The National League got to Palmer in the bottom of the third, or rather he got to himself. Larry Bowa of the Phillies led off with a soft single, but he was on third with two out when Palmer suddenly became wild high.
He walked Morgan, then George Foster, then Greg Luzinski, forcing in a run. And when he got a pitch over, Garvey tagged it for the two-run single that proved the beginning of the end of the AL. The end began in earnest when the compactly constructed Dodge hit the eightn-inning triple.
"I had pine tar all over hands after batting in the second inning," Palmer said. "I couldn't control the ball as well as I wanted to and I had trouble holding onto it."
"I knew Palmer would give me a breaking ball," Garvey said.
"It was a slider that didn't break as much as I wanted," said Palmer.
With the score tied at 3, the game settled down to a duel of relievers.Lary Sorensen of Milwaukee worked three scoreless innings for the American League and Steve Rogers of Montreal and Rollie Fingers of San Diego blanked the AL for two innings apiece. Then came the decisive eighth, and the Nationals had their 30th victory against 18 losses and a tie in the rivalry begun in 1933.
Garvey's triple soared high off the right-field wall, missing a home run by no more than five feet. "I thought the ball was out," said Garvey. "Earlier in the evening, when the air was lighter, it would have been."
"I played in 1974 right after getting over the mumps," said Garvey, who played with a 20-stitch cut in his chin last night. "When I went into third base on the triple, I think I popped a stitch. But I'll take a popped stitch for a triple anytime."
The San Diego fans appreciated all this to a fare-thee-well. They roared again and again, even when Padre owner Kroc went out to the mound and attempted to throw the first ball a full 90 feet.
He didn't quite make it, but the National League did. Doesn't it always?