Star trek: Adrian shines on national stage
After Derby, slugger had one more homer left in his bat
PHOENIX -- Fresh off belting 31 home runs in his runner-up performance in Monday night's State Farm Home Run Derby, Adrian Gonzalez said that the next-day soreness was equivalent to if he had lifted a lot of weights.
But by the time the All-Star Game started, Gonzalez had loosened up enough to smack yet another long ball from that big bat of his.
With two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Gonzalez broke a scoreless tie by belting Cliff Lee's 0-1 cutter over the wall in right-center for a solo shot.
"It was a fastball away that I swung through then he threw a front door cutter that I was able to stay on," said Gonzalez. "I got it enough up in the air to carry it out of the park."
This being the year of Gonzalez's coming-out party on a national level, it was only fitting he would go deep.
"It was a great experience," Gonzalez said. "All All-Star Games are unique. Just [to] be able to get a hit was special."
It was a hit that broke a bit of an All-Star Game power outage in the process.
Gonzalez's homer marked the first home run hit in a Midsummer Classic since J.D. Drew -- another Red Sox -- in 2008 at Yankee Stadium.
There were 208 All-Star at-bats between the homers by Drew and Gonzalez.
But Prince Fielder made sure there wouldn't be a similar drought after Gonzalez's homer, hitting a three-run rocket in the bottom of the fourth to give the National League a two-run lead. The NL went on to a 5-1 victory, meaning the Red Sox will not hold home-field advantage if they are fortunate enough to get back to the World Series for the first time since 2007.
"I'm not disappointed," said Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, one of Boston's six All-Stars. "I kept the philosophy that we had to win on the road anyway. For us, we'll have to go into somebody else's place to play if we're in the World Series."
Gonzalez is in the midst of a monster season for the Red Sox, hitting .354 with 17 homers and 77 RBIs. Of Boston's six All-Stars, Gonzalez definitely had the most impactful night.
"It's just the kind of player he is and it was really good to see him do that," Youkilis said. "He's hopefully going to take that into the second half."
While Gonzalez made the start at first base and went 1-for-2, Youkilis came off the bench and delivered a hit -- a line single to left -- in his only at-bat.
"It's good. It's good to get hits in the All-Star Game," Youkilis said. "The past two times I've had hits. The first time I didn't get any. It's good to get those and maybe build on my All-Star Game stats I guess."
David Ortiz, who started at designated hitter, and Jacoby Ellsbury each went 0-for-2.
But Big Papi was in his element while serving as captain for the American League in Monday night's Derby. As usual, the big slugger enjoyed being part of the festivities.
"It's always a new experience," Ortiz said. "You never get tired of it."
For Ellsbury, this was his first taste of being an All-Star.
"It was a great experience," Ellsbury said. "I came into it just trying to let everything sink in. In the next couple days, I'll kind of look back. But it was a great time. I had fun."
The Red Sox didn't have anyone take the mound Tuesday night. Josh Beckett was supposed to pitch the second inning, but he had to ask out when he developed recurring soreness in the left knee he hyperextended in his start Friday vs. the Orioles.
"When I came off the long flight, it was a little bit stiff," said Beckett. "When I got here, I jogged around a little bit. It got a little bit better, but it wasn't something I was going to mess with."
Then there was Jon Lester, who knew going in he wouldn't pitch. The power lefty is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a lower left latissimus strain.
"It's an honor," Lester said. "Like I said all day yesterday, it's an honor to be here. It's something when I found out, Tito gave me the option of coming or staying in Boston. Like I said, it's one of those deals where you don't know how many of these things you get to go to, so you might as well come and enjoy it while you can."
Now, the six Red Sox All-Stars will have an abbreviated All-Star break before starting the second half on Friday night at Tropicana Field against the Rays.
The experience is one they all seemed to enjoy.
"It goes quick," Youkilis said. "Fortunately this is not my first one and I talked to some of the guys on the first one, and it speeds up on them a little bit. I got to sit back a little bit and enjoy it and not panic that I didn't have time to do little things here and there. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed myself and I'm ready to go back to Boston."