MIAMI (AP) — Aaron Judge’s flyball to center field in the fifth inning triggered a crowd crescendo even though it came to rest in a glove shy of the warning track.
Giancarlo Stanton struck out twice and tapped out to the catcher, so his estimated distance averaged about 7 feet per plate appearance.
The Home Run Derby this was not.
The American League beat the National League 2-1 in 10 innings Tuesday night in the All-Star Game, and the marquee sluggers did their part to keep the score down.
Judge, the New York Yankees rookie sensation and Monday night’s winner of the Home Run Derby, went 0 for 3 before departing in the fifth. He left three runners on base but was all smiles in the winning clubhouse.
“This was awesome,” Judge said. “My first time coming to Miami, and the goal was to have some fun and compete. That’s what happened. We came out with a win. It was just an awesome experience all around. What a day. What a couple of days.”
Miami Marlins slugger Stanton, last year’s derby champ and this year’s fan favorite, was also blanked as the NL designated hitter. He struck out in the first inning on a 98-mph fastball from Chris Sale, struck out in the third on a slider from Dellin Betances and managed a dribbler against Brandon Kintzler.
Even though Stanton went down swinging, and lost in the first round of the derby, he – like Judge – was upbeat at the end.
“What’s the point of being an All-Star if you’re going to be mad about things?” he said. “Just have fun.”
Stanton ranked his fourth All-Star appearance different from the others.
“A lot more buzz,” Stanton said. “A lot more people rooting for me, which is cool. So this one was really cool, and special.”
Judge struck out in the first on a 3-2 slider from Max Scherzer, grounded out in the third against Carlos Martinez and flied out against Alex Wood.
“You know it’s a tough at-bat,” Scherzer said. “It was my first time facing him, and I was trying to get a feeling how the at-bat would go. You toy with him and see what is working. Fortunately I threw a good 3-2 slider and got a swing and a miss.”
With a grin, Judge conceded the Washington Nationals ace fooled him.
“I can see why he was the NL starter,” Judge said. “I was nervous the first pitch, but after that it’s go time. On 3-2 I was getting ready for 100 mph, and I got a slider.”
Martinez said he and Judge discussed on Monday the possibility of a matchup. That was on Martinez’s mind as Judge stepped to the plate.
“When he saw me he gave me a little smile,” Martinez said. “It was a beautiful experience. He’s got a quick bat, a fast bat, so I tried to use my strength, which is the fastball.”
Given Stanton’s high profile as the All-Star Game’s hometown hero, his exit from the game was a bit surreptitious.
His final at-bat came in the fifth inning, and he was out of uniform and dressed for a night on the town by the seventh. But his name wasn’t replaced on the scoreboard until Joey Votto batted for him in the eighth.
Don’t expect to see much more of Stanton until the Marlins resume their season Friday.
“I’m going to take these two days,” he said, “and hopefully don’t see anyone and don’t do a dang thing.”