With a pair of consecutive swings in the 10th inning of the 89th All-Star Game at Nationals Park, the two young Houston Astros stars did what everyone else did: they hit home runs.
Only the one run in the American League's 8-6, 10-inning win over the National League before an announced crowd of 43,843 didn't score via a home run, and the sides combined for an All-Star Game record 10 home runs — smashing the previous record of seven in regulation when Cincinnati Reds shortstop Scooter Gennett tied the game at 5 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“Standard operation nowadays, right?” American League manager A.J. Hinch said. “I mean, to kind of empty your tank and hit homers tonight at this event is probably the best thing imaginable.”
Perhaps not wanting to see the game carry on much longer, Bregman and Springer extended that home run record quickly in an effort to shorten the rest of the night.
The home runs came sporadically early in the game. New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge homered to lead off the second inning off National League starter and Washington hometown hero Max Scherzer in the form a towering shot to left field. An inning later, Los Angeles Angles center fielder Mike Trout hit a low laser into the visiting bullpen to extend their lead to 2-0, only for Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras to halve that lead with a home run on the first pitch of the third inning from the Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell.
The middle-innings — no doubt softened by the wind blowing toward home plate and the rain that fell for stretches — tamped down the power some. It was revived when Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story homered to tie the game in the seventh inning before Old Mill's Josh Hader was charged with keeping it that way in the eighth inning.
Hinch said: “In the beginning of the game, it was, ‘Are we going to have a game other than a homer?’ And at the end, it was, ‘Are we going to have have enough pitching to get out of this mess?’”
Hader allowed two hits quickly, and looked to have Jean Segura retired on a foul pop fly by the first base dugout, but Red first baseman Joey Votto dropped it for an error and Segura hit the next pitch out for a three-run home run.
Hader's Milwaukee Brewers teammate, Christian Yelich, hit a home run to begin to chip away at that deficit in the eighth inning, a process that was completed in the ninth inning on the two-run home run by Gennett that sent the game to extra innings.
That's when Bregman, who won the Most Valuable Player award, and Springer broke the game open. Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley broke the home-run streak with a sacrifice fly to make it 8-5 for the American League.
Votto homered in the bottom of the 10th inning to try and spark a comeback, but all he did was extend an All-Star Game record that he helped create.