NEW YORK — It was a simple moment, one not captured by cameras, one without any real significance, one not nearly as stirring as the final All-Star appearance of the game's greatest closer.
Unless, of course, you follow the Orioles and you know just how long it has been since the team had something to really celebrate at the midsummer classic; heck, it had been 16 years since they had three starters in the sport's featured exhibition.
Consider that, and the brief moment of Orioles camaraderie had some significance for the organization and its fans.
In the fifth inning of Tuesday night's 84th All-Star Game — which the American League won, 3-0, to secure home-field advantage in the World Series for the first time in four years — Orioles center fielder Adam Jones led off with a double against Philadelphia's Cliff Lee.
Hardy's RBI gave the American League a 2-0 lead before the inning ended on a double play. As Hardy jogged off the field, the Fox national television cameras went to commercial break and the 45,186 fans at Citi Field occupied themselves with mid-inning entertainment.
That's when Jones and Orioles first baseman Chris Davis rushed out of the dugout to meet Hardy in foul territory — and to give Hardy a collective fist bump. Davis had Hardy's glove and cap, while Jones had to run back to the dugout to get his own gear after the impromptu and subtle, all-Baltimore celebration.
“It's been awesome, not only being here and being amongst all these great players, but being able to share those type of things with your teammates that you are with day in and day out, that was huge,” Davis said. “We had to give [Hardy] a little bit of a hard time in the fact that he beat out a double play. J.J.'s not the most swift of foot. ...
"It was one of those weird moments in baseball, and its something you really can appreciate as a fan and a player."
Ultimately, the Orioles' starting trio held its own in the game. Davis was 1-for-3, and his line single off first baseman Joey Votto's glove in the fourth inning set up the American League's first run. Detroit's Miguel Cabrera doubled to start the fourth against Arizona's Patrick Corbin, moved to third on Davis' single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Toronto's Jose Bautista to break a scoreless tie.
Davis played five full innings. Hardy (who was 0-for-2 with an RBI) played six innings and Jones (1-for-3 with a run scored) had one final at-bat in the seventh.
Jones was 5-for-17 against Lee in his career before the double — which was his first hit in four All-Star at-bats over three games.
Jones also had an impressive 10-pitch at-bat in the second before striking out against the New York Mets' Matt Harvey. He fanned again in the top of the seventh on a 101-mph fastball from Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman.
Third baseman Manny Machado, who made his first All-Star game as a reserve, came in as a defensive replacement in the top of the sixth and played alongside Hardy for an inning. In the seventh, Machado made a nice defensive play, snagging a two-hopper at the line and throwing a strike to first to get Paul Goldschmidt.
“It was a great experience to go out there and get a ground ball,” Machado said. “Fortinately, my first one got to be that nice play. But overall, it was a great experience and something I'll take for the rest of my life.”
The Orioles' fifth All Star, right-hander Chris Tillman, didn't pitch. He wasn't needed. The National League managed just three hits all night.
Perhaps the two most memorable moments on Tuesday — nationally, anyway — were courtesy of the New York Yankees. The first one was cringe-worthy and the second one scrapbook-worthy.
Three pitches into the night, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano took a 96-mph fastball off his right quadriceps, just above his knee. He hobbled to first, stayed in for a batter and then was lifted for pinch-runner Dustin Pedroia.
X-rays were negative and he was diagnosed with a bruise. Cano said he hopes to play in Friday's second-half opener. But he was disappointed that he couldn't really participate on Tuesday.
“You've been waiting for this moment for a long time. I mean, that's like any kid's dream come true: You're in front of the home crowd, [second] pitch,” Cano said. “It's disappointing, but at the same time, that's part of the game, so what else can you say?”
Cano was plunked by Harvey, who was the first member of a host team to start an All Star Game since Houston's Roger Clemens in 2004. The 24-year-old Harvey allowed a leadoff double to Mike Trout and hit Cano before getting six consecutive outs — including a fly out by Davis and a strikeout by Jones.
It was one of many impressive outings on Tuesday — Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale was awarded the win with two perfect innings — but none will be remembered like Mariano Rivera's appearance in the eighth. The 43-year-old Yankees closer entered in the eighth to a standing ovation.
As the stadium loudspeaker blasted Metallica's “Enter Sandman” — Rivera's trademark entrance music — the rest of the AL players besides catcher Salvador Perez stayed in the dugout. Rivera stood alone at the mound, took off his cap and saluted the cheering fans.
He then did what Rivera has often done in his career: pitched a perfect inning, throwing 16 pitches. He entered in the eighth because AL manager Jim Leyland wanted to make sure the veteran would get into the game. Ultimately, Rivera also received the game's MVP Award.
Texas closer Joe Nathan pitched the ninth, picked up the save and gave the AL its first All-Star win since 2009 and its first shutout of the NL since 1990.
“It was pretty special with Mo going out and this being his last All-Star Game,” Davis said. “We wanted to give him a win going out.”