The first ever NASOMA All Star Game was a showcase for the home town kid. Played at the Baptist Bowl, Inmate Carlos Gonzalez stole the show, homering twice in his friendly confines and winning the MVP as the BUD/HWD PigPals defeated the MFD/AWD SnakeCharmers 4-1.
The PigPals came out hot, loading the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the 1st against Zach Greinke, but CarGo struck out and Xander Bogaerts bounced into a double play.
There were no other real scoring threats by either team until the 6th inning. With the Inmates' Matt Thornton on the hill, Buster Posey of the Drillers blasted a 1-out double off the wall in left. Thornton got the Mavs' Bryce Harper to line out, bringing up Paul Goldschmidt, the slugging first baseman of the Zaps. While intentional walks are frowned upon in All Star Games, PigPal manager Pigman backed up his "We're playing to win!" message and ordered the free pass. Chris Davis was due, but was called back for Alex Rodriguez. The Pigs' own Darren O'Day relieved Thornton, but walked ARod to load the bases. The packed house of 50,165 erupted when O'Day then struck out the Drillers' Josh Donaldson to the end the inning.
That Baptist Bowl eruption was only a precursor to the deafening roar that came in the bottom of the inning when their own CarGo launched a 1-out fastball from the Goofs' Jacob deGrom into the home run porch down the right field line.
The lead was short-lived, however. Over in the PigPal dugout, manager Pigman laughed at the Wahoo manager's notion that Dellin Betances was the worst pitcher in baseball, and brought the big righty in to protect the 1-0 lead. He didn't. It turns out he IS the worst pitcher in baseball. Betances walked Freddy Freeman (Bees) and Jose Iglesias (Tweeners) on 8 straight pitches, 3 of which hit the Pig mascot. Erasmo Ramirez of the DVs came on to still the rising tumult, but a Ben Zobrist (Tweeners) single tied the score and put runners on the corners, still with no outs. A dazed Pigman made yet another trip to the mound. As he would say later, "I was trying to decide who could get us out of this without too much damage, and I remembered that the Rhino right-hander Gerritt Cole had shut down the Warpigs earlier this year, so maybe he could do the same now." And shut them down he did. Brantley and Posey both hit grounders right at infielders, the latter getting Iglesias thrown out at the plate. And when Cole struck out Harper looking, the place was jumping again.
With the score now 1-1, SnakeCharmer manager Snakeman brought in his own Chris Sale to pitch, but the DVs' Giancarlo Stanton pinch hit a double to start the inning. After Mike Trout (Fungoes) struck out, local hero Jose Altuve of the Inmates came up to hit. His routine grounder to third was booted by Donaldson, putting runners on the corners with 1 out. Raisel Iglesias, the young Buckeye hurler, relieved Sale, but Warpig Jason Kipnis hit a sacrifice fly to left to give the PigPals the lead again. The Snakeman here made the controversial decision to bring in the Zaps' Brad Ziegler to face CarGo, eschewing the Mavs' Zach Britton, who was warm in the pen. CarGo said thank you very kindly and blasted the ball off of the transformer above the upper deck in right field.
Side note... In true Inmate fashion, the mobbing of CarGo at home plate resulted in the need to remove him from the field on a stretcher. He suffered a separated shoulder, a cracked elbow, two broken ribs, three upper ankle sprains, and several knife wounds. He will miss the rest of the season.
The "good" Wahoo relievers, Jake McGee and Mark Melancon, pitched the 8th and 9th innings respectively to close out the win.
A great time was had by all. Even CarGo said "totally worth it" when asked about the injuries. And, well, "all" is a bit hyperbolic. Brantley and Harper combined to go 0-10 with 4 strikeouts, and Mike Trout suffered a laceration on his throwing hand, which he claimed to have accidentally done to himself with his own knife during the CarGo celebration. Trout's reaction? "Totally worth it."
Thanks to everyone who showed up to view the game. TeamViewer is only as good your computer's connection, so it isn't perfect... but it's a better option than NetPlay.