Prince Fielder’s double gives NL lead over AL after 3 innings in All-Star game

By Mike Fitzpatrick, AP
Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fielder’s double gives NL lead after 3 innings

ST. LOUIS — Prince Fielder came off the bench early to hit a tiebreaking double and the National League grabbed a 3-2 lead over the Americans after three innings in the 80th All-Star game Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

An error by hometown slugger Albert Pujols at first base led to two AL runs in the first inning, but his teammates rallied for four straight hits with two outs in the second off Toronto ace Roy Halladay.

The NL was looking for its first win since 1996 in Philadelphia. The American League’s 11-0-1 run since is the longest unbeaten streak in All-Star history.

President Barack Obama threw out the ceremonial first pitch — a low toss to Pujols — before San Francisco right-hander Tim Lincecum took the mound for the Nationals in the first All-Star game in St. Louis since 1966.

The 2008 NL Cy Young Award winner, Lincecum was selected for last year’s showcase at Yankee Stadium but was unable to pitch because he was ill.

Ichiro Suzuki led off with a single and Derek Jeter was hit by a pitch. One out later, Pujols booted Mark Teixeira’s grounder, allowing the first run to score. Jason Bay followed with a single and Josh Hamilton drove in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder.

Halladay, who could be traded soon, retired his first five batters before David Wright blooped a single. Shane Victorino, starting in center field for injured Carlos Beltran, singled and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina delighted the red-clad crowd with an RBI single.

Victorino aggressively raced toward third and wound up trotting home when Hamilton’s throw from center field deflected off a sliding Victorino for an error.

Fielder, who won the Home Run Derby on Monday night, pinch hit for Lincecum and hit an opposite-field double down the left-field line to give the NL a 3-2 lead.

Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin followed Lincecum with a perfect third inning with Pujols making a nice grab of Joe Mauer’s low liner.

Obama’s first pitch and the introduction of Cardinals great Stan Musial highlighted pregame ceremonies.

The 88-year-old Musial carried a baseball and drew applause from players as he was driven in from right field. He greeted Obama near the National League dugout, handed him the ball for the first pitch and the two chatted while shaking hands.

Wearing red jackets, five other Cardinals Hall of Famers were on the field: Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Red Schoendienst, Bruce Sutter and Ozzie Smith.

Sheryl Crow, who is from Missouri, sang the national anthem.

Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria withdrew from the game Tuesday because of an infected right ring finger. He was replaced in the AL lineup by Texas’ Michael Young, who batted seventh and made his first All-Star start in his sixth appearance.

Chone Figgins of the Los Angeles Angels took Longoria’s spot on the AL squad and arrived in time for introductions. AL manager Joe Maddon of the Rays said Figgins was scheduled to land in St. Louis a little more than 90 minutes before the first pitch and received a special escort to the ballpark.

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