NL falls short in ASG after closer yields homer to Cano in 10th inning
By Jesse Sanchez
MIAMI -- Cubs closer Wade Davis spent the better part of the past two days answering questions about being the lone player at the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard from the defending World Series champs despite the fact that he was not even on last year's team.
Davis listened as he was constantly reminded that last year's National League roster had six Cubs, including the starting infield. He was reminded that the Cubs are the first World Series-winning team in more than a decade to have only one player at the All-Star Game the following year since Albert Pujols was the Cardinals' only representative in the 2007 Midsummer Classic.
A different set of questions surfaced Tuesday night.
Davis' manager and National League skipper Joe Maddon inserted the right-hander into the game in the top of the 10th inning with the scored tied at 1. All Davis did was give up a home run to Seattle's Robinson Cano, the first batter he faced, to give the American League a 2-1 advantage that it wouldn't relinquish. It was the final score of the game.
"I'm not too sure [on numbers against Cano], but I have faced him before," Davis said. "I pitched in the 10th inning and I didn't expect us to go 10 innings, but I got in there and it was fun."
"Overall, I just thought the overall intensity of the game was very good," Maddon said. "Right down to the very last out, both sides wanted to win that game. Spectacular pitching on both sides. Not really challenged defensively. The pitchers were that good tonight, missing bats. Weaker contact. The pitching was outstanding."
The Cubs reliever recovered to strike out Kansas City's Mike Moustakas for the first out and gave up a single to Detroit's Justin Upton. Davis fielded a comebacker off the bat of Cleveland's Michael Brantley to start an inning-ending, 1-6-3 double play.
"This is a fun game and I don't think it has any meaning at all other than getting together and showcasing our talent," Davis said.
Davis' work was done for the night. But there's still plenty of work to do.
Yes, Davis, who is 16-for-16 in save situations this season, has been dominant all year. But it's been a challenging season for the defending champions. The Cubs have won consecutive games just once since June 6 and the club's record has hovered around the .500 mark (43-45) for most of the season. By contrast, the Cubs were 18 games over .500 (53-35) at last year's All-Star break.
True to form, Davis is confident his team will bounce back in the second half. The Cubs resume play Friday in Baltimore with an Interleague series against the Orioles.
"I think there's a finish line there. You can see the finish line, and that will be something where we can push a little harder," Davis said. "There's a lot of good players on that team who will probably be All-Stars after the second half, that type of deal. That'll be something that happens."
Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.