Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant slugged the first pitch he saw from White Sox pitcher Chris Sale into the left-field seats to give his team a 1-0 lead.
That is a sentence I hope I get to write again in a couple of weeks when the Cubs play the White Sox. The lead was short-lived, though, as homers from Kansas City Royals Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez in the second inning off Johnny Cueto gave the American League a 3-1 lead they never relinquished. Let's hope the Cubs can hit Cueto that hard when the Giants visit Wrigley Field in September.
The 4-2 A.L. win means that if the Cubs do make it as far as the World Series, they'll have to play Game 1 on the road, even if they have the best record.
Dumb, I know, but that's the way Major League Baseball wants things, even if the bulk of baseball fans don't.
Irritatingly, MLB has not deigned to post embed codes for any of the highlights of this game, so you'll have to click this link to see video of Bryant's homer. Fun fact about the homer:
Kris Bryant's HR off Chris Sale was the 2nd hardest hit ball off Sale this year... 110.8 MPH.— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 13, 2016
Bryant's homer was just the eighth ever by a Cub in an All-Star Game. Here are the other seven:
|1||Alfonso Soriano||2007-07-10||CHC||NL||ALS||L 4-5||3||3||1||1||0||0||1||2|
|2||Andre Dawson||1991-07-09||CHC||NL||ALS||L 2-4||2||2||1||1||0||0||1||1|
|3||Billy Williams||1964-07-07||CHC||NL||ALS||W 7-4||4||4||1||1||0||0||1||1|
|4||George Altman||1961-07-11||CHC||NL||ALS||W 5-4||1||1||1||1||0||0||1||1|
|5||Ernie Banks||1960-07-11||CHC||NL||ALS||W 5-3||4||4||2||2||1||0||1||2|
|6||Hank Sauer||1952-07-08||CHC||NL||ALS||W 3-2||2||2||1||1||0||0||1||2|
|7||Augie Galan||1936-07-07||CHC||NL||ALS||W 4-3||4||4||1||1||0||0||1||1|
At age 24, Bryant became the youngest Cub to homer in a Midsummer Classic since Galan.
Among other Cubs in the game, Anthony Rizzo was the only one to get a hit, a fourth-inning single. The N.L. eventually scored its second run in that inning on a single by Marcell Ozuna of the Marlins. But Addison Russell, who went 0-for-2, grounded into a force play to end that threat.
Ben Zobrist also went 0-for-2, but Fox's announcers mentioned that he had been designated as the "return" player, someone who could come back into the game after leaving, if the game went into extra innings and the N.L. was out of position players.
Rizzo also showed off his defensive skills on this slick play [VIDEO] on a sharply-hit grounder by David Ortiz of the Red Sox.
Jake Arrieta had apparently told N.L. manager Terry Collins that he'd pitch if necessary, but preferred the day off. So it was up to Jon Lester to represent the Cubs on the mound. He'd likely have completed his inning, the seventh, if not for an error by the Dodgers' Corey Seager at shortstop. After the error, Lester walked Robinson Cano and then got a groundout and a fly ball to left, upon which Collins removed him in favor of Mark Melancon.
Lester threw 15 pitches (nine strikes), and now will likely have a week off, not pitching until next Tuesday, when he'll face Collins' Mets at Wrigley Field. (The Cubs' rotation past Sunday has not yet been announced, but it would seem logical to have Arrieta start the Mets series and Lester go the next day.)
The N.L. loaded the bases with two out in the eighth, creating a bit of drama, but Will Harris of the Astros struck out the Cardinals' Aledmys Diaz on a nasty 3-2 cutter to end the inning.
The game was entertaining, if not the result Cubs or other N.L. fans wanted, and nobody got hurt. Here are a few of the Cubs representatives in the dugout during the game:
We have iPads in the #ASG dugouts. @Cubs @MLB_PLAYERS decided to take a family photo. pic.twitter.com/GMtp3YZphr— MLB (@MLB) July 13, 2016
Now, everybody in the major leagues gets a couple of days off, resuming the schedule Friday. The Cubs game against the Texas Rangers at Wrigley will be the first contest of the second half, and, hopefully, all the Cubs will be well rested to resume what could be an historic season. There will be one roster move coming for the Cubs before Friday's game:
#Cubs optioned Munenori Kawasaki to Triple-A Iowa according to official transactions page, no announcement/corresponding roster move posted— ChicagoCubsOnline (@TheCCO) July 11, 2016
It's likely the corresponding move will be to activate David Ross from the seven-day concussion disabled list; he went on the list July 6, so he should have passed all the concussion protocols by Friday and be ready to go.
I'm ready for a big Cubs second half. How about you?