White Sox lefty allows long ball to Cubs' Bryant; Quintana works scoreless fifth
By Ryan Posner
SAN DIEGO -- After being named the American League starting pitcher for the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, Chris Sale said he was just there to have fun and compete.
He stood by those comments after the AL's 4-2 win over the National League on Tuesday at Petco Park, despite giving up a two-out solo home run to Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant in his only inning of work.
"I tried to enjoy every moment of it. Every warmup, introductions -- it was fun. It's an experience I'll never forget," said Sale, who was the fifth White Sox pitcher all-time to start an All-Star Game. "I appreciate the honor of starting the All-Star Game. I gave up a run, it was a home run, whatever. The experience in itself was worth every last minute."
Bryant crushed a first-pitch, 96-mph fastball off the facing of the upper deck in left field. Sale said Monday that he planned on going right after hitters, so Bryant wasn't surprised he got a fastball to hit right away.
"I think a lot of us were hunting the first pitch," he said. "I think pitchers in these games usually try to light up the radar gun a little more than they usually do."
Bryant was quick to point out after the game that he remains 0-for-6 with six strikeouts against Sale in regular-season at-bats. But Sale did not fool him in their first All-Star Game matchup, as the homer traveled a projected 410 feet and was 111 mph off the bat, per Statcast™.
"You could hear it, I think I felt it, too," Sale said. "He got a good piece of it."
The White Sox lefty got Wil Myers to strike out swinging to end the inning. Being his fifth All-Star selection, Sale had an idea of what kind of approach he wanted to take into the game.
"It's supposed to be a fun atmosphere and a fun time for everyone, so I was just trying to soak it in," he said. "I'm not going to look too far into this game. It was fun, everybody had a good time. We were all here for the same reason."
Left-hander Jose Quintana, making his first All-Star appearance, entered the game in the fifth inning and became a part of All-Star Game history after the first batter he faced. Second baseman Jose Altuve bobbled a ground ball off the bat of Daniel Murphy, causing a close play at first, which was originally called out.
However, NL manager Terry Collins challenged the play, the first replay review in All-Star Game history. Murphy was eventually ruled safe.
Quintana worked around the error and a double from Myers to hold the 4-2 lead, striking out Wilson Ramos to end the inning.
"It was an amazing experience," Quintana said. "I enjoyed all of my days here. It was awesome to talk to a lot of the guys here, some of the best talent."
What moment did he enjoy most from his first trip to the Midsummer Classic?
"When they called me in, in the fifth inning, and I came to the mound -- I'm going to remember that," Quintana said.
Thanks to Quintana's and a mix of other relievers' ability to hold the lead, the AL will have the luxury of home-field advantage in the World Series.
The White Sox enter the second half seven games back of the Indians in the AL Central, and 4 1/2 games back of Toronto for the second AL Wild Card spot.
"It was a nice break, we had some fun, but we're in it," Sale said. "We're just over .500, we got a chance."
Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.