MINNEAPOLIS – Derek Jeter soaked in the adulation from fans and players during one more night on baseball’s national stage, set the tone for the American League with a pregame speech and delivered two final All-Star hits.
Mike Trout, perhaps the top candidate to succeed the 40-year-old Yankees captain as the face of the game, seemed ready to assume the role with a tiebreaking triple and later a go-ahead double that earned him MVP honors.
On a summer evening filled with reminders of generational change, the AL kept up nearly two decades of dominance by beating the National League 5-3 in the All-Star game Tuesday for its 13th win in 17 years.
Miguel Cabrera homered to help give the AL champion home-field advantage for the World Series.
No matter what else happened, it seemed destined to be another special event for Jeter.
He received a 63-second standing ovation when he walked to the plate leading off the bottom of the first, another rousing cheer when he led off the third and about two minutes of applause after AL manager John Farrell sent Alexei Ramirez to shortstop to replace him at the start of the fourth.
As Frank Sinatra’s recording of New York, New York boomed over the Target Field speakers and his parents watched from the stands, Jeter repeatedly waved to the crowd, exchanged handshakes and hugs in the AL dugout and then came back onto the field for a curtain call.
While not as flashy as Mariano Rivera’s All-Star farewell at Citi Field last year, when all the other players left the great reliever alone on the field for an eighth-inning solo bow, Jeter also tried not to make a fuss.
A 14-time All-Star who was MVP of the 2000 game in Atlanta, he announced in February this will be his final season. His hits left him with a .481 All-Star average (13 for 27), just behind Charlie Gehringer’s .500 record (10 for 20) for players with 20 or more at-bats.
While the Yankees are .500 at the break and in danger of missing the postseason in consecutive years for the first time in two decades, Jeter and Trout gave a boost to whichever AL team reaches the World Series.
The AL improved to 9-3 since the All-Star game started deciding which league gets Series home-field advantage.
Detroit’s Max Scherzer, in line to be the most-prized free agent pitcher after the season, pitched a scoreless fifth for the win, and Glen Perkins got the save in his home ballpark.
The AL won for the first time in three tries in Minnesota; it lost 6-5 at Metropolitan Stadium in 1965 and 6-1 at the normally homer-friendly Metrodome, where not one longball was hit under its Teflon roof in 1985.
Jeter, the Yankees’ captain, went 2 for 2 and had a vintage opposite-field double.
It’s been fun family time for us, Jeter said, after he was watched from the stands by his mom, dad, sister and nephew.
The double was one of Jeter’s classic, opposite-field line drives to right. He singled to right field in his next at-bat, too, raising his All-Star batting average to a robust .481 – 13 hits in 27 at-bats.
That’s the second-best of all time for players with 20 or more at-bats, behind Charlie Gehringer.
OK, so maybe NL starter Adam Wainwright admitted he threw something juicy for Jeter to hit.
I was going to give him a couple pipe shots, the right-hander said. He deserved it.
Wainwright later said, though, that he didn’t want to take away from Jeter’s first inning hit.
It was mis-said, the pitcher said in a television interview. I hope people realize I’m not intentionally giving up hits out there.
Jeter showed off in the field, too. In the top of the first, he made a slick, diving stop on Andrew McCutchen’s sharp groundball up the middle. Jeter got to his feet and fired an on-throw to first base, but the fleet-footed McCutchen was too fast, beating it out for a leadoff single.