At the start of the festivities, Cruz and Cano -- who both hail from the Dominican Republic -- caught ceremonial first pitches from countrymen Pedro Martinez and Juan Marichal, respectively, who were part of a group of eight Latin American-born Hall of Famers honored by Major League Baseball. Marlins Park is located in the predominantly Cuban neighborhood of Little Havana.
"It means a lot," Cano said. "Those guys are really, I want to say, started this game for the Latin American players. Guys that really made this game so fun and exciting, made fans come and watch, and opened the doors for us. That's something that I see Pedro Martinez, Juan Marichal, [Orlando] Cepeda, the best second baseman to ever play this game, Roberto Alomar, Rod Carew. It's something -- to catch that first pitch and say hello to them and being in that picture, I just can't wait to get to social media and get that picture, and put it on a frame in my home."
To cap the night off, Cano hit the decisive homer off Cubs closer Wade Davis to open the 10th. The eight-time All-Star knocked the knuckle curve 395 feet, as projected by Statcast™, with an exit velocity of 106 mph and a 21-degree launch angle, to right field. He became the third Mariner to win All-Star MVP honors, joining Ken Griffey Jr. (1992) and Ichiro Suzuki (2007).
Cano previously struck out swinging in a pinch-hit at-bat against Padres reliever Brad Hand in the seventh.
"You're not surprised," Cruz said. "Robby finds a way to get it done in big situations. Nothing new. It's just the way it is."
In the sixth inning, Cruz made a buzz-worthy entrance by requesting a photo with home-plate umpire Joe West before flying out to center. Catcher Yadier Molina snapped the photo.
Cruz said he tried to pull a similar stunt off in 2013, but he got out in his first at-bat and forgot the phone on the bench his second time around.
"I thought about it before the game and told everybody I was going to take a picture with Joe West my first at-bat," said Cruz, who has made five All-Star Games. "It was supposed to be a selfie, but I saw Yadi say batting gloves would make it [difficult]."
Cano and Cruz also met up with a familiar face during batting practice: Orioles shortstop Manny Machado, who also played for the Dominican Team at this year's World Baseball Classic.
"It's great to see a brother like him," Cano said. "The way he comes and supports us, that's something that means a lot to us. Like I said, it's good to see him when he's supposed to be home with his family resting, and he's here. I would've liked to have seen him here, but maybe next year."
Christina DeNicola is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.