La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

All-Star postgame: A good night for the National League in Phoenix

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 13, 2011 - 12:49 AM

The tone was set early, with Roy Halladay throwing two scoreless innings and Cliff Lee following it with a third. It was the first time an All-Star Game began with three perfect innings since Roger Clemens and Freddy Garcia did it in 2001.

Lee gave up a solo homer to Adrian Gonzalez, but that was it for the American League.

``It was great to have the pitching set up the way it was,'' N.L. manager Bruce Bochy said.

With Halladay and Lee at the front and Heath Bell, Joel Hanrahan and Brian Wilson for the final innings, all the N.L.needed was a few runs. Prince Fielder took care of that in the fourth,

CUDDY GETS A CHANCE

When all nine A.L. starters were pulled from the game, I began to wonder if the Twins' Michael Cuddyer would get in the game.

Then Miguel Cabrera's back began balking, and Cuddy entered the game in the middle of the seventh inning.

Then we wondered if he would get an at bat. So did Tampa Bay's Matt Joyce in the ninth inning.

``Matt Joyce said, `You been up yet? Alright, I'll go get a hit for you.''

Starling Castro's error on Carlos Castro's grounder actually made Cuddyer's  at-bat a strong possibility. But Joyce still singled to right to put runners on first and third for Cuddy.

I immediately ran to twitter and reminded everyone that the last time Cuddyer faced Brian Wilson he socked a RBI double off him last month in San Francisco. About 10 seconds after the tweet was sent, Cuddyer was out on a fly ball to right.

Cuiddyer was looking for a first pitch fastball and got one. He just missed it.

Still,Cuddyer was thrilled with the event. He took everything in, including the red carpet parade the players get before the game. Cuddyer got to bring his son Casey, 3, on back of the truck he was on and got a kick out of watching his son wave to everyone.

OTHER NOTES

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks are  the only team to have not had a player homer in an All-Star Game. The Brewers were the other team before Prince Fielder homered.
  • Fielder is the fourth son of a major league All-Star, joining the Alomars, Griffeys  and Ripkens.
  • It was the second straight year the A.L.had just six hits in the game.
  • A total of 60 players were used, the most in a nine-inning game.
  • Celebrities in attendance included Muhammad Ali. J.Timberlake, Jordin Sparks (sang the anthem), Larry Fitzgerald, James Denton and Tom Papa.

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