Closure: Derek Jeter's farewell and a Perkins-to-Suzuki save bring victory

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 16, 2014 - 5:25 AM

The final score was 5-3 American League, but few people will remember much about the actual game they played in Target Field on Tuesday night. They’ll remember the heartfelt sendoff that baseball and his fellow players gave Derek Jeter, the psychic transfer of power to boy king Mike Trout, and the group hug that Minnesota enjoyed with one of its own.

“It’s a night I’ll never forget,” Twins closer Glen Perkins after tuning out the din of 41,048 chanting his name while he recorded the final three outs, with the help of recent Minnesota import Kurt Suzuki, for his first All-Star save. The whole experience, Perkins said, “met my expectations — and more.”

Just imagine how Jeter feels. The only way the selection to his 14th and final All-Star Game could have been more perfect was if, after diving to his left for Andrew McCutchen’s hard grounder on the game’s first play, he had thrown out the Pirates speedster at first. McCutchen was safe by a millisecond, proof that not every moment was scripted for TV.

But when the inning ended, the tributes began. As Jeter strode to the plate to lead off for the American League, the recorded voice of legendary Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard intoned his name: “Jee-tah.” The Yankees captain stood at the plate, waiting for a pitcher who wasn’t going to do him the favor of cutting off the ovation.

“I just wanted him to enjoy it. I thought that was his moment,” NL starter Adam Wainwright said. “I put my glove up and just backed up almost to second base, just saying, ‘Dude, I’m not going anywhere until this ovation dies down.’ … I’d still be standing out there if they were still cheering.”

They were cheering even louder and longer in the fourth inning, when Jeter took the field with the rest of the AL stars, but Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez soon jogged out to relieve him. The shortstops hugged, “New York, New York” played in the stadium, Jeter tipped his cap to the crowd, took congratulations from the entire AL dugout and returned to the field for one final salute.

“It was a wonderful moment that I’m always going to remember,” he said. “For them to do that, that was much better than if there was something scripted.”

Jeter, who finished with a single, a double and countless ovations, said he was uncomfortable with the attention — but especially touched by Wainwright’s gesture. “I tried to tell him to pick [his glove] up, let’s go. He let the fans give me an ovation, which I’ll always remember,” Jeter said. “For him to do that says a lot about him and how much of a class act he is.”

How much of a class act is in dispute. Jeter doubled into the right field corner on Wainwright’s second pitch, a 90-mph cutter, and Wainwright said shortly after coming out of the game that he “was going to give [Jeter] a couple pipe shots,” baseball jargon for fat pitches down the middle. “I didn’t know he was going to hit a double, or I’d have changed my mind.”

But Wainwright said later he was joking, and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny angrily denied that Wainwright had let up. “Anybody that knows anything about this guy knows that he’s one of the greatest competitors that played this game,” Matheny said. “Adam Wainwright went out there to compete.”

Whatever the case, Wainwright was probably being totally sincere when he said, “I’m glad I got to face him. It’s something I can always say to my kids, that I faced one of the greatest of all time.”

More than one in that inning alone, actually. After Jeter’s double, Trout followed by ricocheting a 3-2 cutter off the right field wall, and by the time the ball was relayed to the infield, the next “Game’s Greatest Player” had slid headfirst into third base with a triple, scoring Jeter. Wainwright struck out Robinson Cano for the first out, but then made a mistake — well, it’s not a mistake to any other batter — to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, a sinker that was 4 inches inside. “Nobody keeps that ball fair,” Wainwright said.

Cabrera kept it fair, but not in play. He drilled a line-drive screamer that cleared the wall in left field by a couple of feet, giving the AL a 3-0 first-inning lead.

The National League rallied to tie, thanks to a pair of RBI doubles by Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. But the American League took the lead for good — and earned home-field advantage in the World Series — when Pat Neshek, introduced as “from the Park Center Pirates,” his high school in Brooklyn Park, allowed two runs on three hits. The big blow was a double that Trout, named the game’s MVP for his two extra-base hits, whistled down the left-field line. “Nobody in the park was more amped up tonight than Neshek,” Matheny said.

Unless it was Perkins, who jogged in to a loud roar from the hometown fans in the ninth inning, and found Suzuki waiting on the mound to catch him. “It was an overwhelming moment to hear,” Perkins said. “It got louder and louder.” Three quick outs, one a strikeout, and the thrill was complete.

Neshek shouldn’t be sad, Perkins said, because he probably felt the same way he did, as a native Minnesotan. “I thought about that — if I give up a three-run homer, I’m going to be bummed out,” Perkins said, “but I still got to pitch in an All-Star Game in front of a home crowd.”













 

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: American 5, National 3

    Wednesday July 16, 2014

  • Photo gallery: All-Star Game in photos

    Wednesday July 16, 2014

    The All-Star game at Target Field on Tuesday evening.

  • All-Star Game play-by-play (and substitute by substitute)

    Wednesday July 16, 2014

  • Giddy fans bask in glory of Minneapolis' All-Star day

    Wednesday July 16, 2014

    Minnesotans rolled out the red carpet for Major League Baseball’s Midsummer Classic on Tuesday, as throngs of eager fans packed into downtown Minneapolis and sold-out Target Field.

  • Brewers' Lucroy shows he belongs

    Wednesday July 16, 2014

    While the Brewers catcher hit two RBI doubles, much-hyped Dodgers star Yasiel Puig struggled once again.

  • Tigers' Cabrera shows off power and athleticism

    Wednesday July 16, 2014

    The Detroit first baseman slugged a two-run homer and also made a nifty play in the field.

  • Giddy fans bask in glory of Minneapolis' All-Star day

    Wednesday July 16, 2014

    Minnesotans rolled out the red carpet for Major League Baseball’s Midsummer Classic on Tuesday, as throngs of eager fans packed into downtown Minneapolis and sold-out Target Field.

  • Video: AL wins in Jeter's All-Star farewell

    Wednesday July 16, 2014

    Derek Jeter had 2 hits in his last All-Star Game, but did NL starter Adam Wainwright purposely give him...

  • Derek Jeter waves to the cheering fans after his last All-Star Game.

  • Glen Perkins (15) and Kurt Suzuki celebrated with Derek Jeter (2) at the end of the All-Star Game.

  • Derek Jeter made a great play to open the 85th All-Star Game.

  • The Yankees Derek Jeter tipped his helmet to the crowd as they gave him a standing ovation for his first at bat during the first inning of the All-Star Game Tuesday afternoon. ] JEFF WHEELER ‘Ä¢ jeff.wheeler@startribune.com The 2014 MLB All-Star Game was held Tuesday night, July 14, 2014 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

  • Twins closer Glen Perkins got the save — and a high-five from catcher and teammate Kurt Suzuki — after he dispatched the NL’s best with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to preserve the AL’s 5-3 victory Tuesday.

  • Retiring Yankees captain Derek Jeter acknowledged the cheers of fans and teammates alike at Target Field on Tuesday night after leaving the game in the top of the fourth inning.

  • Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, right, celebrated with the Orioles’ Nelson Cruz after ripping a two-run homer to left field in the first inning.

  • Retiring Yankees captain Derek Jeter acknowledged the cheering fans at Target Field as he left the All-Star Game. See C12 for a commemorative poster of Jeter.

  • Former Park Center High School star Pat Neshek returned to Minnesota but had a short, rough stint on the mound — three hits and two runs in a third of an inning.

  • The Twins’ Glen Perkins watched a fly hit by Arizona’s Miguel Montero in the ninth.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
NJIT 78
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which Twins player are you most interested in during spring training?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close