Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CC provides All-Star Game's top moment

Wouldn't it be nice if the outfield walls at Tropicana Field were just a tad lower? That way we can watch Carl Crawford steal more than just bases. We can watch him steal a home run or two or three or four.

The Rays left fielder robbed Brad Hawpe of a leadoff home run in the seventh during Tuesday's All-Star Game in St. Louis, which the American League won 4-3.

It was a play that kept the score tied at 3-3 and earned Crawford the MVP award, which might have been an indication of how much the 80th All-Star Game lacked in action as much as it was a reward for Crawford's game-turning play.

The AL took the lead in the eighth and old reliable, Mariano Rivera, closed it out with a perfect ninth.

We've come to expect All-Star plays like that from Crawford. What can I say? We're spoiled.

But with the walls at the Trop being 12 feet tall, we'll never see CC make that catch unless we hit the road.

Crawford had the best day of any of the five Rays players in the game. (Obviously, because they gave him the MVP award. Such keen insight on this blog.)

He delivered a pinch-hit single in the fifth inning only to be erased at second when Ichiro Suzuki grounded to second. That was Crawford's lone hit in three at-bats, but it did give him an All-Star Game hitting streak. CC homered at San Francisco in 2007, his last All-Star appearance.

Jason Bartlett bounced out in his lone at-bat.

Ben Zobrist struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. But Zorilla did catch Miguel Tejada's fly ball in short right field for the final out of the night.

Carlos Pena would have pinch-hit for Zach Greinke in the top of the fourth had the inning been extended and Greinke got to bat. But Rays manager Joe Maddon, who skippered the AL squad, send CC up for Greinke to start the fifth.

Pena, a late addition to the squad, didn't get in the game.

Evan Longoria was scratched from the lineup because of an infected right ring finger that is not supposed to keep him out of action when the Rays return to the field Friday night in Kansas City.

Longoria's batting helmet did make it to the plate, though. AL starter Roy Halladay wore it during his second inning at-bat. The Rays logo was removed, but that was Longo's familiar No. 3 on the back. Didn't help Halladay. He looked at a called third strike.

Maddon wins his debut as an All-Star Game manager.

CC comes home with the MVP trophy.

A pretty good showing from the defending AL champs.

And now that the AL won, we can prepare for a possible Game 6 and Game 7 of the World Series at the Trop, right?

Yeah, we'll see.

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