LOS ANGELES — The spectacle before Tuesday night’s main event at Dodger Stadium was touching and hilarious.
Denzel Washington was there, wearing the Dodgers’ No. 42 jersey, standing behind home plate and paying tribute to Jackie Robinson. Standing in front of the mound was Mookie Betts, leading his All-Star teammates and a packed house in wishing widow Jackie a happy birthday. Rachel Robinson turned 100 on Tuesday. Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela returned to the mound, throwing a ceremonial first pitch to the roar of the crowd.
All good things.
The best was yet to come, and it would come thanks to one of the six Yankees on the side, someone who grew up in Los Angeles watching dozens of Dodger games from the left field.
Giancarlo Stanton, the American League starting left fielder, hit a tying, two-run homer in the fourth inning of his club’s 3-2 victory that could have been measured on the Earthquake Richter scale.
It was a terrific blast from Dodgers right-hander Tony Gonzalino that touched down to left-center field. It measured 457 feet, looked just shy of 500, and earned Stanton MVP honors in a 3-2 victory that marked the AL’s ninth straight win over the NL.
Stanton’s homer tied the game at 2-2, then Twins outfielder Byron Buxton followed with a homer to put the AL on top and it stayed that way.
“I can’t explain how special this is,” Stanton said. “It’s hard to put into words what is now a reality. It’s really cool.”
Several of his Yankees teammates also performed well, including All-Star lefty starter Nestor Cortez and closer Clay Holmes.
Cortez worked a scoreless sixth inning, throwing around a walk and a strikeout while striking out two. Holmes got the first two outs of the eighth, allowing a one-out single that was sandwiched between two strikeouts.
“I was a little nervous,” Yankees All-Star right fielder Aaron Judge said. “He hit a batter. A walk. I was disappointed. I thought he was going to do a couple more shimmies, a couple more breaks and quick serves, but I guess he’s saving them for the season.
Catcher Jose Trevino, another first-time All-Star, singled to right in the first of his two at-bats, leading to some teasing.
:It was a special moment, said Judge. “He was grinning from ear to ear as he ran to first base. We kind of got to him. He should have been there at second base. He should have been in a fighting position, but he was absorbing the moment.
“I was a little nervous,” Judge said. “He hit a batter. A walk. I was disappointed. I thought he was going to do a couple more shimmies and a couple more breaks and quick passes, but I guess he’s saving them for the season.
Judge, the AL’s starter in right field, went three innings and struck out in his only two hits. He was delighted with Stanton, but not surprised. Judge leads the majors with 33 homers, but Stanton has 24, including several very long ones.
“I see it all year,” Judge said. “This is nothing new. He told me he was going to get one. He didn’t get it (by striking out) in the first at-bat, but he made up for it in the second.”
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Randy Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.