Donaldson had tough act following MVP Trout in AS lineup

By Bob Elliott

CINCINNATI _ Baseball honored its greatest living players on Tuesday night.

And in oh about 50 years if they decide to do it again ... well Mike Trout might be on the field wearing a sports jacket.

In his first three full seasons Trout has won the American League rookie of the Year, an MVP and finished in the runner-up spot in MVP voting twice. 

Trout’s spot in the order scored three times -- three of his club’s first four runs -- as the AL defeated the NL 6-3 before 43,656 fans at the Great American Ball Park. The NL still leads the series 43-41-2.
Trout added all-star MVP honors to his resume.

And with the win the AL gets home-field advantage for the World Series.

So, check your date book and make Rogers Centre reservations now.

Or maybe you could and should wait until you see how many arms the Blue Jays add before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.  

Mantle like: Trout stepped in leading off for the AL, found himself behind Zach Greinke 0-2, took a ball and then took a pitch over the right field fence for a homer. 

“It’s almost not surprising any more,” said Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, who was hitting second and had a sudden thought as Trout circled the bases: “man, I have to follow that.” 

Donaldson said he always tries to hit the ball hard and tried to do what Trout did against Grienke but swung and missed at a 93 mph fastball and a slider to fall behind 1-2 before working a walk.    

Trout hustled to beat out what looked like a room service double play ball to second baseman D.J. LeMahieu in the fifth and after a walk raced home on Prince Fielder’s single to left Joc Pedersen. 

In his fourth and final at-bat -- the first all-star to get four plate appearance since Jose Reyes in 2007 -- Trout walked against Francisco Rodriguez. Brock Holt pinch ran ... ah, let’s just say he went in as a defensive replacement, stole second and scored on Manny Machado’s double.

In Game: Ryan Braun tripled and scored in the ninth ... Brian Dozier took Mark Melancon deep in the seventh to put the AL up by four ... Machado’s double and a Fielder fly ball off Rodriguez put the AL ahead 5-2 ... Jacob deGroom turned in the most impressive inning of the night striking out Stephen Vogt, Jason Kipnis and Jose Iglesias on 10 pitches (nine strikes) in the sixth. He became the first all-star pitcher to strike out the side on 10 pitches or less ... Andrew McCutchen hit the first pitch from Chris Archer into the upper deck in left cutting the AL lead to 3-2 making it the first time in all-star history both lead-off men have homered ... Lorenzo Cain doubled off Clayton Kershaw, who pitched like he was facing the St. Louis Cardinals last post-season. Alcides Escobar led off with a single, Trout forced him at second, one out later Albert Pujols walked so Fielder and Cain could deliver run-scoring hits ... Trout’s homer to start the game was the first lead-off homer Greinke had allowed in three years. Trout is 5-for-10 (after a strikeout in the third), with two doubles, a triple and a homer. The others to lead off a game with a homer are all in the Hall of Fame: Lou Boudreau (who homered in 1942), Willie Mays (1965) and Joe Morgan (1977). 

Jays days: Toronto third baseman Donaldson walked on six pitches facing Greinke in the first and did the same on the same number of pitches in the third against Gerrit Cole. 

“It seems like I haven’t had a walk in two weeks and get two tonight,” said Donaldson who had walked three times in his previous 70 plate appearances covering 16 games.

Donaldson was charged with an error charging a Paul Goldschmidt bouncer down the line. He fielded the ball but threw on the run wildly, allowing Goldschmidt to reach second. Jhonny Peralta blooped a two-out single to right bringing home an unearned run. Donaldson, this year’s leading vote getter, is now 0-for-2 with two walks in two all-star games.  

Playing roughly about where the shortstop is due to the shift employed against Bryce Harper, Donaldson made a fine play ranging to his right to end the first for lefty Dallas Keuchel.

“He gets a lot of ground balls, it’s tough to elevate the ball against him,” said Donaldson, “he gets ground balls all the time. I expect to make those plays.” 

Donaldson was impressed seeing the Franchise Four of the Cincinnati Reds and the four great living players honored on the field pre game.

“There were a lot of legends,” said Donaldson, “they built the game and them being here made it a unique experience.”

Russell Martin pinch hit for Vogt in the eighth and struck out looking against Melancon, then took over behind the plate for the final two innings. Martin is now 1-for-7 in three all-star games. 

Briefly: Reds third baseman Todd Frazier who thrilled the hometown crowd by winning the home run derby Monday was hitless in three at bats ... When NL manager Bruce Bochy met with the commissioner’s office he had to show he had enough pitching to cover 16 innings. At the 2008 all-star game at Yankee Stadium position players were set to pitch the 16th when the AL won in the 15th as Michael Young’s fly ball scored Justin Morneau with the game winner ... Among foreign-born stars Canada is fifth with 19 -- including Montreal’s Martin this year -- behind the Dominican Republic (79), Venezuela (43), Puerto Rico (40) and Cuba (31). 

Beat the clock: The clock in right added drama to the home run derby. And a 20-second pitch clock was used in Arizona Fall League last year and the clock will be used at selective double-A and triple-A parks.
Players Association boss isn’t sold on a clock in major league stadiums saying “Hear me very clearly on this one, when you add the third deck in the major leagues, and you add all of the other moving pieces tied to a major league game, the idea that a particular rule in Double-A, or Triple-A, or Single-A, or the Fall League, because of how it may have been worked into the system there, means that they would automatically work in the big leagues, is not true.
“The game is fundamentally different, fundamentally faster. There are more considerations that need to be made at the major league level than the minors.”
Clark also said his 13-year-old son’s first question at the Gilette Home Run Derby was “where can I get shoes like Josh Donaldson?”

Bob ElliottComment