Cleveland pitcher Shane Bieber struck out the side in the fifth inning to win the MVP honors in a 4-3 American League victory at the All-Star Game in Cleveland on Tuesday night.
With no clear most valuable player emerging during the tightly contested matchup, the sterling performance by a hometown favorite proved to be the most outstanding performance of the night.
Bieber Last Minute All-Star Selection
Bieber wasn’t even expected to make the All-Star Game. He was only named to the AL team after Texas Rangers starter Mike Minor pitched on Sunday, making him ineligible to play in the exhibition.
“I really didn’t know what to think,” Bieber said after earning the MVP award. “But it’s an incredible feeling now. Now that it’s kind of sinking in, just to be able to do it in front of the hometown crowd in my first All-Star Game is definitely not something I expected.”
In a sign of the times, there was no shortage of strikeouts throughout the game, especially on the National League side. AL pitchers combined to pick up 16 strikeouts, while NL hurlers racked up seven of their own.
Much of the game was dominated by the American League, which took a 4-1 lead into the eighth inning. But the NL team struck back, with Home Run Derby winner Pete Alonso singling in two runs to cut the deficit to one run.
But that’s as close as they would get. New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman came into the game in the ninth inning and struck out the side to put the game away and give the American League its seventh straight win in the contest.
That continues a longer trend of wins for the American League, which is now 19-3-1 over the last 23 years in the contest. Overall, the AL now has a slight 45-43-2 advantage in the All-Star Game.
Carrasco Honored for Battle with Leukemia
The most memorable moment of the night had nothing to do with the action on the field. During the Stand Up To Cancer tribute, Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco – who hasn’t pitched since May 30 while he battles with leukemia – joined the Cleveland delegation at the game. His four All-Star Game teammates and manager Terry Francona held up signs in support of “Cookie,” a nickname the crowd also chanted, while Carrasco held a sign that simple read “I stand.”
“He has a great supporting cast around him,” said former teammate and current Houston Astro Michael Brantley. “He’ll fight through this and get back on the mound.”
Carrasco is expected to resume pitching around the end of July.
Major League Baseball returns from the All-Star Break on Thursday, when the Ranges host the Astros. Most teams are back in action on Friday night.
Heading into the second half of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers (+280) are the top choice to win the World Series at FanDuel Sportsbook, followed by the New York Yankees (+350), Houston Astros (+400), and Atlanta Braves (+750).