Jones' sacrifice fly off Padres' Bell gave AL win in 2009

AL's 4-3 win ran winning streak to 13

Jones' sacrifice fly off Padres' Bell gave AL win in 2009

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The 2009 All-Star Game came down to a face-off between a native San Diegan and a Padre.

And Baltimore right fielder Adam Jones, a graduate of Morse High, drove home Curtis Granderson with the decisive run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly against Padres closer Heath Bell to give the American League a 13th straight victory on July 14, 2009, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

But the hero of the 80th All-Star Game was Tampa Bay left fielder Carl Crawford, who was named the Most Valuable Player on the strength of a catch he made in the bottom of the seventh -- robbing Colorado Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe of a tiebreaking homer with a leaping catch at the wall.

That catch set up the American League's game-winning rally a half-inning later.

Bell entered the game in the eighth as the seventh National League pitcher. With one out, Detroit center fielder Granderson tripled to center. Bell intentionally walked Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez to face Jones, needing a double play to get out of the inning.

But Jones prevailed, hitting his decisive sacrifice fly.

The American League jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against National League starter Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants. Only one of the runs was earned.

Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners opened the game with a single and Lincecum hit Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter with a pitch to put runners at first and second with no one out. National League catcher Yadier Molina of St. Louis pounced on a ball topped in from off the plate by Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer to get a force on Suzuki at third.

It appeared Lincecum had a second out when Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira hit a grounder to National League first baseman Albert Pujols, who threw wildly to second allowing Jeter to score the game's first run.

Mauer moved to third on a single by Boston left fielder Jason Bay and scored on a groundout by Texas center fielder Josh Hamilton, who raced to first to prevent an inning-ending double play.

The National League, however, took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the second against American League starter Roy Halladay of Toronto. Again, one of the runs was unearned.

Halladay retired the first two hitters he faced in the inning before Mets third baseman David Wright and Philadelphia center fielder Shane Victorino hit back-to-back singles. Molina followed with a single to center that scored Wright, with Victorino scoring on the play when Hamilton threw wildly to third. Molina moved to second on the error and scored on a ground-rule double by pinch-hitter Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers. Fielder had won the Home Run Derby on the eve of the All-Star Game.

The American League tied the game at 3 against Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth. Crawford opened the inning with a single. But the next two hitters -- Suzuki and Jeter -- grounded into force outs, although they dodged the double play. With two out, Mauer doubled into the left-field corner with Jeter scoring the tying run from first.

Bell suffered the loss. He was one of two Padres on the National League team. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez walked in his only plate appearance.

No one had two hits in the game, although Jeter scored two of the American League's four runs.

Starters Lincecum and Halladay were the only pitchers who worked more than one inning.

The National League got only one hit and one walk -- both off Minnesota's Joe Nathan in the eighth -- over the last seven innings after getting four hits in the first two innings against Halladay. The American League had eight hits with two against Lincecum, Billingsley and Bell.