Upton thrilled NL victorious at home ballpark

Upton thrilled NL victorious at home ballpark

PHOENIX -- Justin Upton's stint as an All-Star Game host is over with.

It was quite busy, slightly nerve-wracking and, as he claimed, every bit as exciting and memorable as he expected.

"It's just cool, man," Upton said just after greeting Giants ace Tim Lincecum before Tuesday night's crescendo. "It's been a pretty busy week, but this is just awesome, having these guys here. You can see what this stadium is all about and see what the fans are all about. So it's been a good week."

The week culminated with the 82nd All-Star Game, where Upton -- along with catcher Miguel Montero and manager Kirk Gibson -- was introduced to a raucous crowd of 47,994 at Chase Field, then it ended victoriously with a 5-1 win by the National League.

Upton finished the game 0-for-2, but considering his D-backs sit only three games back of first place in the NL West, the face of Arizona's franchise was just happy with the potential home-field advantage in the World Series.


"We had National League fans here," Upton said. "They came out, supported us and we were able to come out with the win. It's big for the National League, and we know that when the World Series comes around, no matter who's there, we're looking forward to the National League having home-field advantage."

Upton didn't get enough fan votes to start the All-Star Game, and he didn't get selected by Prince Fielder to participate in Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby, but he surely felt appreciated.

D-backs fans at Chase Field went crazy when Upton's name was announced during pregame ceremonies. About 24 hours earlier, they were chanting his name -- Just-in Up-ton! -- during a Derby he wasn't even part of.

"The cheers were awesome," Upton said. "It's great to have the support of the fans and everyone in attendance. But they were a little bit rough on the guys. They were a little bit rough on Prince [Fielder] and Rickie [Weeks]. They're two great guys, and it wasn't really their fault that I wasn't in it, and it was just a tough situation. But it was cool to hear the support of the fans."

Montero, who only got into the All-Star Game after Placido Polanco was ruled out because of injury, also got the support from the fans, even though he didn't even get to bat. The 28-year-old first-time All-Star was on deck with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but Jay Bruce struck out, and Montero had to retreat to the bench.

Being out there was good enough.

"As soon as I got on the on-deck circle, I heard the crowd, and I had butterflies, to be honest," said Montero, who caught Joel Hanrahan and Brian Wilson as they sealed the victory in the top of the ninth. "It was a great moment, and I feel really proud to be a part of the Diamondbacks organization. It was a great time."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.