The Boston Red Sox will have home-field advantage in the World Series if they’re able to turn their season around and march their way into this year’s Fall Classic.
The American League defeated the National League 5-3 at Tuesday’s 2014 MLB All-Star Game at Target Field in Minnesota. Both of the Red Sox’s All-Star representatives, Jon Lester and Koji Uehara, appeared in the contest, which marked New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s final Midsummer Classic.
Lester, a three-time All-Star, pitched the second inning Tuesday after Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez started the game. Lester surrendered two runs on three hits while throwing 22 pitches (17 strikes). It was Lester’s first taste of All-Star Game action, as the left-hander didn’t pitch in either of the other two All-Star Games for which he was selected.
“Made a couple mistakes and obviously they’re here for a reason, put some good swings on balls,” Lester told reporters in Minnesota after Tuesday’s appearance. “Luckily got out of there still with the lead. That was the main thing. Fun. Had a good time.”
Lester retired Giancarlo Stanton to begin his outing but then allowed a single to Aramis Ramirez. Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy followed with back-to-back RBI doubles that at the time brought the National League to within one run. The Red Sox ace escaped the inning by taking care of Carlos Gomez and Andrew McCutchen.
“Any time you get to run out on this field with these guys, it humbles you. It makes you just enjoy this even more,” Lester said. “Getting to be a part of this, getting to be in the clubhouse with these guys, you just walk around the room, you’ve got future Hall of Famers all over the place. It’s an awesome experience that I definitely always remember. I always remember the ones I’ve been to and get to be around these guys, cherish the talks and the conversations that we’ve had in the dugout or on the field. You get to learn a lot from these guys.”
Uehara’s appearance was much shorter. The 39-year-old closer entered with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. He struck out the only batter he faced, Devin Mesoraco, on four pitches to strand a runner at third base.
Uehara, whose MLB All-Star selection was his first, told reporters that facing one hitter was enough.
“I enjoyed this, but I’m still disappointed I didn’t get a chance to play golf,” Uehara said through translator C.J. Matsumoto.
Maybe Koji can sneak in a quick 18 holes before the Red Sox begin their second half Friday against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Once things kick off then, it’s all about putting off golf as long as possible.