If there’s anything fans will remember about the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Kansas City, it’ll probably be seeing flamethrowers Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman light up the radar gun one after the other for the National League.
Jim Johnson’s work in the top half of the inning? Just another ho-hum, 1-2-3 frame for the majors’ midseason leader in saves.
Johnson’s All-Star debut didn’t come in a classic – the NL’s 8-0 victory was all but sewn up halfway through the game. But the Orioles closer’s outing was classic Johnson, a quick, efficient inning that drew little attention to him.
Sharing the field with teammates Matt Wieters and Adam Jones, the right-hander with 26 saves through the first half began by getting Houston’s Jose Altuve to ground out to second. He then got Chicago’s Starlin Castro to fly out to Jones in center and struck out Atlanta’s Michael Bourn swinging.
All it took was 11 pitches, 7 for strikes.
Wieters and Jones both entered in the top of the sixth and came up to the plate back-to-back in the bottom of the seventh against Philadelphia lefty Cole Hamels.
Wieters hit a fly ball to the warning track in left that Washington’s Bryce Harper snagged. Jones followed with a ground out to Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair.
Wieters got one more at-bat, flying out to right against Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon to end the game.
After winning 12 out of 13 All-Star Games (with the exception being the 2002 tie), the American League has scored a total of two runs in losing the last three Midsummer Classics.
So, not a night to remember for those on the AL side – unless you're on the team that gets to start the World Series on the road.