SAN FRANCISCO -- Still after all these years, a generation of National League All-Stars remained winless against the American League with Tuesday night's 5-4 loss in AT&T Park. As they have every year since 1996, the NL All-Stars tried but couldn't beat their AL peers. Maybe if they were the NL All-Mets, they would have.
The trio of New Yorkers in the NL's starting lineup stood out like the Golden Gate through a fog blanket, with starters Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and David Wright collecting five of the NL's first six hits. The final component of the Mets' All-Star quartet wasn't quite as smashing on the other end of the ball, as left-handed reliever Billy Wagner allowed a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Victor Martinez in his one inning of pitching, the eighth. That blow became the difference in the game when Alfonso Soriano's own two-run homer triggered a pulsating bottom of the ninth that ended with the bases loaded with National Leaguers. Beltran and Wright each went 1-for-3 before both left the game in the top of the seventh, but the star of All-Stars was Reyes, who went 3-for-4, stole a base and scored a run while playing longer than any of the other 15 starting position players. "Oh, man, it was kind of an exciting game for me," said Reyes, who certainly made up for having to miss last year's game with a finger injury. Reyes' excitement, obviously, began before his first productive swing, as he was chosen to be Willie Mays' batterymate for the culmination of the opening ceremonies. A moment Reyes called "something I'll never forget" got his memorable evening off to a good start. "Big crowd ... I tried to do something good for them," Reyes said. "It was exciting for me to have a real great game." Reyes sparkled, even discounting the perpetual smile that brightened the overcast early evening. He started off in the first inning like a man double-parked. He singled off Dan Haren's second pitch and stole second base on the Oakland right-hander's second pitch to Barry Bonds. Bonds couldn't take advantage -- flying out to right -- and neither could Beltran, who struck out. But Reyes' aggressiveness paid off when Ken Griffey Jr. sent a single up the middle for an RBI and a 1-0 lead -- the only one the NL would hold. Reyes' next time up presented the NL with another scoring opportunity. After clearly doctoring his bat with chalk, not pine tar, Reyes led off the third inning against Josh Beckett by cuing a ball that baffled third baseman Alex Rodriguez for an 80-foot double. This time, Reyes' potential run wasn't realized, as Bonds flied out to the warning track in left and neither Beltran nor Griffey could leave the infield.
In the fifth, Reyes drilled a sharp single to left-center off C.C. Sabathia.So, in about an hour-and-a-half, Reyes looked at 34 first-half wins by opposing pitchers and turned them into a 3-for-3 start. In the sixth, Beltran chipped in with a triple, scoring the NL's next run on Griffey's sacrifice fly. Later in that inning, Wright singled sharply for his hit. "This is what it's all about, trying to represent your team the best you can," Beltran said. "Today, we did a pretty good job of that. We played good. "I'm proud of the way Jose played. He was having a great time." "It was very important to win here, and we did all we could," Reyes said. "We played hard, because we have a great team. But they have a great team, too." Wright had perhaps the best perspective on a special night, and he relished the new memories it furnished to him and his teammates. "Reyes led off the game on a strong note, and we tried to follow suit," said the third baseman. "I think we did that. [We] got some hits [and] made some good defensive plays. We wore the uniform proudly. We represented our team well." On his way out of AT&T Park, Wright made a little mental note to himself: "Call Major League Baseball Productions." "I want to get a copy of the festivities and just put it away," the third baseman said of the pregame extravaganza paying homage to Mays. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shake Mays' hand and thank him for everything he did. It was a dream come true."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.