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AL tops NL for sixth straight year in All-Star Game after impromptu home run derby

George Springer of the Houston Astros hits a home run during the tenth inning. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)
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The American League triumphed in a back-and-forth duel between long-ball hitters at MLB’s All-Star Game, the first in Washington in 49 years. Ten home runs were hit in total, including eight solo shots, but the Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer provided the game-winning blows in the 10th inning for the AL team, which won for the sixth straight year.

Nationals ace Max Scherzer started the game for the NL and pitched two innings, giving up a home run to the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, the first of the night. Bryce Harper struck out in his only two plate appearances.

Find highlights and in-game updates below.

Tenth inning

The American League didn’t waste any time retaking the lead in the top of the 10th. On back-to-back solo home runs. Who’s surprised?

The Astros’ Alex Bregman and George Springer were the ones to do it, becoming the first teammates with back-to-back homers since 1975. Michael Brantley hit a sacrifice fly to score another run, the only non-homer run of the night.

Cincinnati’s Joey Votto started an NL rally with a solo shot of his own, the eight of the night, but his fellow all-stars couldn’t finish it. The American League wins the All-Star Game for the sixth straight year.

Ninth inning

The Padres’ Brad Hand pitched a scoreless ninth to give the NL a shot. In the bottom of the ninth, the Reds’ Scooter Gennett seized the opportunity, launching the seventh homer of the night into the bullpen in right field with a runner on first off Edwin Diaz. We’re headed to extras.

Eighth inning

After Jean Segura, who made it into the All-Star Game as a final-vote winner after the Mariners pulled off a brilliant three-day marketing blitz, launched a ball over the left field wall with runners on first and second to give the AL a three-run lead, the Brewers’ Christian Yelich hit the fifth solo homer of the night. The AL still leads 5-3.

Seventh inning:

Felipe Vazquez worked a scoreless top of the seventh for the NL. And then Trevor Story hit the fourth solo shot of the night to tie the game up 2-2.

Sixth inning:

There was little action for either league at the plate, but moments after a dugout interview with Manny Machado, Fox’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the shortstop is headed to the Dodgers.

Before the inning began, MLB had its Stand Up to Cancer moment, when players, fans, umpires, executives and media members stand and hold customized placards that read “I Stand Up For” above the name of a loved one who is battling or has battled cancer. 

Fifth inning:

Storms began closing in on Nats Park. On the field, Yadier Molina nearly joined the impromptu home run derby, but his solo shot fell just short in center field.

Nothing for either side in the inning, though, and the game remains 2-1.

Fourth inning:

Matt Kemp, wearing a mic in the outfield, was prodded about the Manny Machado-Dodgers rumors. He swore ignorance. Vet move.

Bryce Harper got up for his second at-bat. Exciting! But . . . he struck out looking. He thought he was getting the walk.

Third inning:

Aaron Judge got the solo party started in the second, and Mike Trout went deep off Jacob deGrom in the third. And it drove home this fact: Mike Trout is good.

Wilson Contreras then got one back for the National League, off the first pitch from Blake Snell of Tampa Bay.

Second inning:

Aaron Judge whacked a homer off Scherzer for the first run of the game. Interview later in the game, Scherzer said after pitching against Judge for the first time, “I learned my lesson” and cited the hitter’s height as a challenge.

Other than that, Scherzer kept doing Scherzer things.

Harper, meanwhile, stepped into the box for the first time . . . and struck out swinging.

That doesn’t change that Bryce made some history, just by stepping into the batter’s box.

After the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp doubled to start the bottom of the second inning for the NL, he was greeted at the bag by the Orioles’ Manny Machado — who proceeded to pull out a phone and take a selfie of the two of them.

The moment was amusing, except perhaps for Baltimore fans who were treated to a slew of pre-game reports that Machado was all but set to be traded to Los Angeles. If true, was the highly coveted infielder just getting a head start on building some friendships in the Dodgers’ locker room?

During the bottom of the second inning, with the National League at the plate, Fox’s Joe Buck had the opportunity to interview Mike Trout — who was playing centerfield at the time, while wearing a mic. At one point, Buck asked the seven-time All-Star if he enjoyed participating in the Midsummer Classic.

“Come on, now, that’s a bad question,” Trout replied. That instantly earned him the admiration of the non-zero segment of baseball fans who aren’t in love with Buck’s announcing style, but hey, at least he didn’t tell Buck it was a “clown question.”

First inning:

Scherzer came out throwing heat.

Chris Sale then had himself an inning, as well.

Pregame updates:

You may have heard reports that Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado will be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. After all, MLB retweeted the dang report.

Anyhow, this — and a chat with Dodgers all-star Matt Kemp — led to memes. Memes on memes.

Moving on . . . how ’bout that weather?

Heavy rain began falling around 3 p.m. Tuesday across the Washington area, and the temperature dropped 12 degrees downtown, according to the Capital Weather Gang. The (blank white tarp) was on the field at Nationals Park, which was included in the deluge.

It might be impossible for the game to top Monday night’s Home Run Derby, when Bryce Harper rediscovered some of his swagger and his smile, and was rewarded with a Derby title and roars from an adoring crowd. Here’s The Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes:

The Home Run Derby doesn’t matter. That he won it says nothing about his swing, about what numbers he might put up in the second half, about how much money he’ll get in free agency, about any of that stuff everyone has talked about for months. But that he enjoyed it — truly, legitimately, no-holds-barred enjoyed it — meant something to everyone who watched him. In four years, Harper has not looked as genuinely joyful he did Monday night. In four years, Harper has not spoken with as much emotion as he did Monday night, when he teared up during the news conference afterward.

In past years, MLB held an All-Star Game parade on the afternoon of the game. But attendance at last year’s parade in Miami was, shall we say, suboptimal, so the league has done away with it. However, it still put on its pregame Red Carpet Show, where players entered the stadium on, yes, a red carpet.

Game information and lineups

When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. (gates open at 4:30 p.m.).

Where: Nationals Park.

TV: Fox.

Nationals ace Max Scherzer will start in his home ballpark, while Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale gets the nod for the American League.

The full lineups:

American League

  1. Mookie Betts (Red Sox) — RF
  2. Jose Altuve (Astros) — 2B
  3. Mike Trout (Angels) — CF
  4. J.D. Martinez (Red Sox) — DH
  5. Jose Ramirez (Indians) — 3B
  6. Aaron Judge (Yankees) — LF
  7. Manny Machado (Orioles) — SS
  8. Jose Abreu (White Sox) — 1B
  9. Salvador Perez (Royals) — C

National League

  1. Javier Baez (Cubs) — 2B
  2. Nolan Arenado (Rockies) — 3B
  3. Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks) — DH
  4. Freddie Freeman (Braves) — 1B
  5. Matt Kemp (Dodgers) — LF
  6. Bryce Harper (Nationals) — CF
  7. Nick Markakis (Braves) — RF
  8. Brandon Crawford (Giants) — SS
  9. Willson Contreras (Cubs) — C

Must-reads ahead of the MLB All-Star Game:

> Sports stadiums — expensive and controversial wherever they’re built — rarely live up to their promise as engines of economic growth. But when Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game comes to Washington on Tuesday night, it will be played in the sport’s most successful new market in decades. After a 33-year absence, baseball’s return to Washington has forged a new fan following, expanded the city’s tax base and sparked the build-out of a part of town most people barely knew existed. For all the success around Nationals Park, has it created other issues? (Read Marc Fisher’s full story)

> When the All-Star Game is in your town, your home ballpark, swathed in a week-long celebration, it still is a knockout event. And it will be again this year — in Nationals Park. (Read Thomas Boswell’s full column)

> Max Scherzer was never destined to stomp around the grounds of major league stadiums, never a can’t-miss talent who would have disappointed everyone had he turned out merely mortal. Mediocrity never disappointed Scherzer, either. It motivated him, over and over, until he had all but eradicated it from his baseball life. (Read Chelsea Janes’s full story)

> Entering 2018, there were 25 living humans who had represented Washington as selections for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. They are the living links to Washington’s all-star history, and these are their stories and memories. (Read Dave Sheinin’s full story)

> Bryce Harper is in the awkward position of being the most talked-about star on the host team for this All-Star Game largely because he might be headed elsewhere after this season — but also because so much will be expected of him here. (Read Chelsea Janes’s full story)

> As thrilling and productive as Mike Trout can be on a diamond, he also represents an obstacle baseball faces. Trout captures and exceeds the imagination of baseball’s adherents, but owing to his prerogative, mitigating individual circumstances and the inherent nature of the game, he has not broken through in any broader way. MLB must grapple with an uncomfortable, perhaps unavoidable dilemma: Trout is the ultimate all-star, and yet he is not a star. (Read Adam Kilgore’s full story)

> It was a year ago at this time, around the 2017 All-Star Game at Miami’s Marlins Park, that Aaron Judge was anointed — by the media, a handful of his fellow all-stars and even Commissioner Rob Manfred — as the new face of baseball. What happened over the rest of 2017 did little to dampen Judge’s stature or celebrity. (Read Dave Sheinin’s full story)

> There was a time, not long ago at all, when it appeared Matt Kemp would never make a third All-Star Game. But Tuesday night at Nationals Park, Kemp will retake his place among the best players in the sport, starting in left field and batting fifth for the National League. Between appearances in the Midsummer Classic, Kemp was traded three times, gained weight, fell into irrelevance, returned to the Dodgers as a salary dump and lost about 50 pounds. Once one of the sport’s brightest lights, he is now, at 33, one of its most unlikely all-stars. (Read Adam Kilgore’s full story)

> As Washington’s first All-Star Game in nearly half a century approaches, we will hear about so many of baseball’s problems. These are real and must be dealt with, but as we frame the discourse about the issues with the current game and the potential solutions that must follow, let’s also make sure we find what’s worth celebrating — namely, the players. The game might be ailing. But the players are awesome. (Read Barry Svrluga’s full column)

> Because of a three-day sprint for the Mariners’ marketing and communications staff, one that included dozens of giveaways, events and outside-the-box ideas to promote Jean Segura, the shortstop is an all-star. (Read Emily Giambalvo’s full story)

> Finally, we created custom all-star baseball cards. Open a pack or two and see who you get. (Open here)

All-Star Monday (Home Run Derby):

All-Star Sunday (Futures Games and Legends & Celebrity Softball Game):

More all-star coverage: