The National League took its first All-Star Game victory since 1996 Tuesday night, thanks to a bases-loaded double from reserve catcher Brian McCann and some ninth inning defensive ingenuity from Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd.
McCann drove in Scott Rolen, Cardinal Matt Holliday, and Byrd with a double down the right field line in the seventh inning, and Adam Wainwright and Brian Wilson put up scoreless innings to take the National League’s lead into the ninth.
But Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton was nearly undone by a scratched-together rally in the bottom of the ninth. After a leadoff single from David Ortiz the game appeared in doubt when John Buck slapped a fair hit to center field, but Byrd made a desperate spin and threw the ball to second to force out the Red Sox first baseman for the second out. Ian Kinsler flew out in the next at-bat and the game was over.
The National League’s last win, in 1996, was credited to John Smoltz. Ozzie Smith played. Ken Caminiti drove in a run. It’s been a while.