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Just the facts: Breaking down the ASG

Just the facts: Breaking down the ASG

Now that the All-Star Game has been played 80 times -- no, the American League hasn't won all of them -- the annual meeting Tuesday night at Busch Stadium in St. Louis has its official place in history.

With the AL's 4-3 victory in our rearview mirror, here's a look at some of the things that make the 2009 All-Star Game unique and fit right in with trends through history:

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The streak: The 13-game unbeaten streak for the American League extended the longest such streak in All-Star history. Seven consecutive wins ranks third in history, behind the National League's 11-gamer from 1972-82 and one shy of the NL's eight-gamer from 1963-70.

All-time record: The NL maintains the overall lead, 40-38-2.

One-run games: Tuesday's game was the fourth consecutive one-run victory for the AL, matching the NL's run of one-game wonders from 1965-68. It was the 26th one-run game in All-Star annals.

Repeat result: The 4-3 final score matched last year's score in 15 innings. That was the first time two consecutive All-Star Games finished with the same score since 1966-67, when the NL won 2-1 at Busch Stadium (II) and then at Anaheim Stadium by the same tally the next year. The only other time that happened was 1959 (second game) and 1960 (first game) toward the end of the two-game era, both ending 5-3.

MVP with D: Carl Crawford became the first player ever to win All-Star MVP honors without a run scored or an RBI. Crawford, who was 1-for-3 with a single, robbed Brad Hawpe of a homer in the seventh inning for the biggest play of the game, and MVP honors. He is the first position player to win an All-Star MVP without an RBI since Willie Mays in 1968. In that 1-0 victory for the NL at the Astrodome, Mays got the hardware by singling to lead off the game, taking second on an error, third on a wild pitch and scoring on a double play.

No homers: Thanks to Crawford's grab, no home runs were struck for the first time since the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. In between, there was a high of five in 2002 at Comiskey Park, including Hank Blalock's game-winner in the eighth, and just one game with only one long ball -- the 2000 game at Atlanta, with Chipper Jones doing the honors in front of the Turner Field home crowd.

No all-timers: One reason for the home run shutout might be because, according to SABR's David Vincent, this All-Star Game was only the second in All-Star history (1992 was the other) to not include at least one member of the top 10 on the active career homers list. Albert Pujols currently ranks 11th with 351.

Hits missed: The 1999 game also was the last time no player had more than one hit before this one, and the NL's five hits Tuesday were the fewest one team has had since the NL's three in 2001 at Seattle. The AL retired 18 consecutive NL batters before Adrian Gonzalez walked in the eighth, the second longest string retired in All-Star Game history. The NL retired 20 straight in the 1968 game.

Few whiffs: With just eight strikeouts combined, that's the fewest since 1962 when there were five. Last year, there were a whopping 35 strikeouts.

Crooked numbers: The two-run first inning for the AL was the first top of the first with more than one run scored since the AL dropped six on the NL in the 2004 game at Houston. The NL's three-run third was their first with that many runs since the fourth in that same game.

Hold it: The National League either took the lead or held it in three innings Tuesday, scoring three in the second, holding the lead in the third and fourth and then being tied in the fifth. Over the course of the AL's 13-game unbeaten streak, the NL has taken or held the lead in just 25 of the 123 innings played. In six of those games, the NL never held the lead.

Presidential pardon: With President Barack Obama doing the honors wearing a White Sox jacket, Tuesday's American League victory was the first in which a president threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The NL had been 3-0 with John F. Kennedy (1962), Richard Nixon (1970) and Gerald Ford (1976) throwing out the first pitch. The NL even won when Ford threw out the first pitch at the 1978 game following his presidency.

Four Mo years: The Yankees' Mariano Rivera recorded his fourth All-Star save, moving him past Dennis Eckersley for the most ever. He has allowed just one earned run in his eight innings and now has a six-inning scoreless streak going.

First-timers: There were 28 first-time participants in this year's All-Star Game, including the players who were selected but couldn't play because of injury. With 14 from each league, that matches '08, '03, '02 as the most since 30 in 1988.

Other firsts: The firsts from St. Louis' fifth All-Star Game:

• Pitch: A foul ball by Ichiro Suzuki off a 94 mph fastball from Tim Lincecum, lined into the stands near the right-field foul pole.

• Hit: Ichiro, single to right off Lincecum, on a 2-and-2 changeup.

• Hit-by-pitch: Derek Jeter, by Lincecum, second batter, first inning.

• Run: Ichiro, on Pujols' error, first inning, no outs.

• Error: Pujols, on Mark Teixeira grounder.

• Out: Josh Hamilton, forceout, Pujols to shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

• Strikeout: Roy Halladay, by Lincecum, second inning.

• NL hit: David Wright, single to right, second inning.

• NL run: Wright, RBI single to right by Yadier Molina, second inning.

• Substitution: Prince Fielder, pinch-hitter for Lincecum, RBI double off Halladay, second inning.

AL in STL: The American League is now 4-1 in All-Star Games in St. Louis, the lone NL victory coming way back in 1940, 4-0 at Sportsman's Park.

All out: The Phillies' outfield trio of Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth became the 13th trio in history on an All-Star roster, and the first since 1995 when Cleveland's Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton and Manny Ramirez were selected. The only trio to repeat? The Red Sox Hall of Fame trio of Fred Lynn, Jim Rice and Carl Yastrzemski in 1977 and '79 -- interrupted only by teammate Dwight Evans taking over in right for the 1978 Classic.

Not all in: With third baseman Evan Longoria's scratch, the Rays missed out on becoming the fifth team with all four infielders in the game, with first baseman Carlos Pena, second baseman Ben Zobrist and shortstop Jason Bartlett. The last was the 2002 Yankees with Jason Giambi, Alfonso Soriano, Jeter and Robin Ventura.

Both sides now: Eight of the players selected to go to St. Louis now have been All-Stars in both leagues. The first-time two-timers: Jason Bay of the Red Sox (Pirates '05-'06), Brian Fuentes of the Angels (Rockies '05, '07), Ted Lilly of the Cubs (A's '04), and Johan Santana (Twins '05-'07) and Francisco Rodriguez (Angels '04, '07-'08) of the Mets.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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