MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Kluber glad to help AL to home-field advantage

Righty notches win as Tribe trio soaks up All-Star experience

Kluber glad to help AL to home-field advantage

SAN DIEGO -- The Indians, in case you haven't noticed, are having a very good year. They're in first place in the American League Central. Their closest threat, Detroit, is 6 1/2 games behind them. They have a very real chance to not only make the postseason, but play deep into it -- maybe even make it to the World Series.

And if they do get that far, they're going to have the coveted home-field advantage in that World Series, thanks to the AL's 4-2 win over the National League in Tuesday's 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard at Petco Park.

The Tribe's three All-Stars acknowledged the favorable nature of the outcome of this Midsummer Classic.

"The game means something," Corey Kluber said. "If we win, it's going to benefit somebody in this locker room. Obviously, everybody wanted to go out there and get a 'W' for the AL. Hopefully, it is us that it benefits."

Kluber, who pitched a scoreless second inning and was credited with the win, called his first All-Star experience "awesome." The intentions he set were simple: Have fun and pitch well. He left Petco Park able to check both off the list.

"My biggest goal for today was really to just enjoy the experience and soak it all in," he said. "I don't know if I ever thought I'd be in an All-Star Game. I really wanted to enjoy it. To go in there and have a clean inning was just kind of icing on the cake."

All three Indians All-Stars were first-timers. Francisco Lindor pinch-hit for Boston's Xander Bogaerts in the fifth and remained in the game at short. Lindor admitted to feeling somewhat anxious waiting for that first at-bat, but once he was in the box, he was able to calm down.

"I was anxious because I wanted to get to home plate," he said. "Once you get in the batter's box, everything settles down. You're back to square one."

The Tribe's third All-Star, Danny Salazar, didn't appear in the game due to a mild elbow condition. But the right-hander beamed as he reflected upon his two-day whirlwind as a first-time All-Star.

"To get to know different players from different teams, the superstars," he said, asked to name his favorite part. "You can learn how they do different things. The way they support their teammates might be different, but it's something you might not do with your own club. It was such an unbelievable experience."

All three hope for more All-Star experiences in the future.

"I was talking to [Jose] Altuve," Lindor said. "He said, 'The first one, you're happy; the second one, you enjoy it more; the third one, you're enjoying even more, and on and on.' I want to continue to work hard, and hopefully I'll have the opportunity to be here again."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.