MINNEAPOLIS — This season has been a difficult one for John Farrell, his team buried in the standings and contemplating personnel changes. But the Red Sox manager orchestrated a nearly perfect 85th All-Star Game for the American League Tuesday night.
On a night that will be best remembered for Derek Jeter playing in his final Midsummer Classic, heir apparent Mike Trout was the Most Valuable Player in a 5-3 victory against the National League.
Trout, the 22-year-old Angels outfielder, had a double, a triple, and drove in two runs for the AL. Jeter had two hits before leaving the game to a heartfelt salute from the sellout crowd of 41,048 at Target Field.
“It’s special for me. Chills, goosebumps, you name it,” said Trout, who was in left field applauding into his glove when Jeter left the game in the fourth inning.
Farrell had Jeter take the field before sending out his replacement, Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox. That started a three-minute ovation.
“It was a wonderful moment that I am always going to remember. I appreciate John doing that for me,” Jeter said.
Farrell also set up his bullpen to have Minnesota’s Glenn Perkins pitch the final inning and get the save. His catcher was Twins teammate Kurt Suzuki.
“It fell in our laps a little bit to show two hometown guys and send this game off the right way,” Farrell said.
The two Red Sox representatives, Jon Lester and Koji Uehara appeared in the game. Lester pitched the second inning and Uehara retired the one batter he faced in the sixth.
The American League has won the last two All-Star Games and again will have home field advantage in the World Series.
Lester, inheriting a 3-0 lead, allowed two runs on three hits while pitching to Kansas City’s Salvador Perez.
“Luckily we got out of there still with the lead. Fun, had a good time,” Lester said.
Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, the heartthrob of wishful Red Sox fans, popped to second base. Aramis Ramirez of the Brewers then singled to center.
Chase Utley of the Phillies doubled off the wall in right field to drive in a run. Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers followed with an RBI double to left.
Lester settled down, getting Carlos Gomes of the Brewers to foul out to Perez. Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen then flied to center.
“It was all right,” Lester said. “Obviously you come in here, you’re facing the best players in the world. You’re just trying to get outs.
“You’re so used to going through scouting reports and advance meetings and this and that and all of a sudden you get out there and you’re throwing to a guy that you just met a day ago. Made a couple of mistakes and obviously those guys are here for a reason.”
Lester was the first Red Sox pitcher to allow two runs in an All-Star Game since Dennis Eckersley gave up three runs over two innings in 1982.
Lester stayed in the dugout after his inning and was one of the players who hugged Jeter when he came out of the game in the top of the fourth as the crowd cheered.
Lester enjoyed witnessing the appreciation fans and the other players showed for the Yankees captain.
“You see it around the league. You see it in the clubhouse. Today, with the guys, you see him walking around and talking to guys and guys just really appreciate what he’s done, how he’s gone about it. It’s awesome,” Lester said.
“It’s an honor to be a part of it and get to see it firsthand.”
The Sox have nine more games against Jeter and the Yankees, including the final three games of the regular season at Fenway Park Sept. 26-28. Tuesday was the first of what will be similar moments.
“He’s been around such a long time. We play so often against him. You just always see No. 2 out there at shortstop and just know he’s going to be in the top of the lineup and give you good at-bats and be Jeter,” Lester said. “I don’t think it’s really sunk in for a lot of people that this is it for him.”
Uehara came into the game with two outs and a runner on third base in the sixth and the AL ahead, 5-3. He needed four pitches to strike out Cincinnati’s Devin Mesoraco. Uehara threw a fastball followed by three splitters.
“I wasn’t able to enjoy it. I was so nervous,” said Uehara, an eight-time All-Star Japan who was playing in his first MLB All-Star Game at the age of 39.
Uehara joked last week that he would have preferred playing golf instead of pitching in the game.
“I enjoyed this. But I’m still disappointed I didn’t get a chance to play golf,” he said through translator C.J. Matsumoto.
The AL took a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals. Jeter led off with a double before Trout tripled to the gap in right. Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers then lined a home run to left field.
Wainwright told reporters after he left the game that he grooved pitches to Jeter. When those comments caused a social media furor, Wainwright claimed on Fox that he was joking. Jeter deftly defused the controversy.
“Still gotta hit it,” he said.
The NL tied it in the fourth on a double by Lucroy against Chris Sale of the White Sox.
The AL took the lead back in the fifth inning against another Cardinal, Pat Neshek.
Oakland’s Derek Norris and Ramirez singled with one out. Trout then doubled to left to drive in one run. Facing Tyler Clippard of the Nationals, Houston’s Jose Altuve had a sacrifice fly.