LOS ANGELES — Giancarlo Stanton homered in his Dodger Stadium homecoming, Byron Buxton followed with another drive and the American League won its ninth straight All-Star Game, beating the National League 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Fans rooting for a tie score after nine innings so they could see a first-time home run derby decide it instead of extra innings didn’t get their wish.
Instead, the back-to-back homers in the fourth inning were the difference as the AL boosted its overall edge to 47-43-2.
Nine-time All-Star Clayton Kershaw got the first start of his career for the NL in his home ballpark, with the Dodgers hosting for the first time since 1980. Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani pounded out the game's first hit on Kershaw's first pitch.
Framber Valdez of Houston got the win, tossing a scoreless third inning.
AL starter Shane McClanahan of Tampa Bay gave up two runs and four hits. The first-time All-Star, who owns a MLB-leading 1.71 ERA, had allowed four hits or fewer in his last seven starts.
McClanahan combined with 10 other pitchers on the five-hitter. Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase struck out the side in the ninth to earn the save. Austin Riley’s single in the eighth was the NL’s only hit after the first inning.
Facing 11-game winner Tony Gonsolin of the Dodgers, Stanton's impressive 457-foot, two-run shot landed in the left-field pavilion, not far from where the L.A. native watched games as a youngster.
It ended his career 0 for 7 skid in the game and at 111.2 mph, it was the hardest-hit homer in an All-Star Game tracked by Statcast. Also scoring was José Ramírez, tying the game 2-all. The Guardians 3B finished the game with a pair of hits.
Four pitches later, Buxton went deep to give the AL a 3-2 lead against a clearly frustrated Gonsolin, who took the loss.
Ohtani led off for the AL as the designated hitter. Interviewed moments before the start, the Japanese superstar admitted he was going to swing. He cracked a 91-mph fastball into center field on the first pitch.
“I was definitely swinging a hundred percent,” Ohtani said through a translator. “Kershaw has really good command.”
His hit snapped an 0 for 8 streak as a hitter against Kershaw. Last year, Ohtani was the starting pitcher and led off as the DH in the AL’s 5-2 win at Denver. He didn’t pitch this year so he can start Friday in the Angels’ first game after the break at Atlanta.
“I mean, you can’t throw the first pitch of an All-Star Game as a breaking ball,” Kershaw said. “You kind of had to give him a heater there, I think just for everything. Had to do it.”
But the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner had the last word. Kershaw fired a pickoff throw to first that caught Ohtani off the bag.
“Honestly, I didn’t know quite know what to throw yet. Sometimes I throw over there for a second to be convicted with the pitch,” Kershaw said. “I wasn’t trying to pick him off. I was trying to delay the game for a bit, but it worked out.”
Then Yankees slugger Aaron Judge went down swinging. After Rafael Devers walked, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded into a fielder's choice, and Kershaw walked off to applause from the appreciative crowd.
“I tried to take a minute at the beginning to take it all in and look around, which I usually never do,” Kershaw said. “It kind of calmed everything down for me and then I had a lot of fun.”
The NL wasted no time in taking its first 2-0 lead in 10 years. Styling in yellow spikes and alternate yellow and red sleeves, Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the bottom of the first with a ground-rule double to left and scored on Mookie Betts' single. Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo homer with two outs.
In between runs, AL second baseman Andrés Giménez made a defensive stop on Manny Machado and followed with a dazzling behind-the-back toss to shortstop Tim Anderson, who threw to first to complete the double play.
A sellout crowd of 52,518 filled Dodger Stadium two years after the third-oldest ballpark in the majors was supposed to host before the game was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More Guardians coverage:
- WATCH: Cleveland Guardians 2B Andrés Giménez turns incredible double play in MLB All-Star Game
- Could the Cleveland Guardians trade for Juan Soto?
- Juan Soto wins Home Run Derby; Cleveland Guardians' José Ramírez eliminated in first round
- Young (kinder)Guardians quickly developing into contenders in Cleveland