The two best hitters in the American League beat the National League’s two best pitchers in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Nationals Park.
The AL’s Aaron Judge hit a home run against the NL’s Max Scherzer in the first inning. In the third inning, the AL’s Mike Trout connected against Jacob deGrom.
The Nationals’ Scherzer and the Mets’ deGrom will be NL Cy Young candidates this season.
Trout and Judge finished one-two in the AL MVP voting last year and could be near the top in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America balloting this season.
The AL won 8-6 in 10 innings with a record number of home runs for an All-Star Game, five for each team.
Home runs are nice, but so is carrying cell phones into the outfield for selfies with teammates. During a down time, Judge, Trout and Mookie Betts - the third AL outfielder - posed for selfies with each other.
“I’ve never taken a selfie on a baseball field, but I’m glad I did it,” Judge said. “I like having my picture with Mookie and Mike. Fun memory.”
Trout agreed, saying that kind of stuff is going to become the norm at All-Star Games.
“I’m glad Major League Baseball let us have cell phones on the field,” Trout said.
Trout, an outfielder with the Angels, has won two AL MVPs, finished second three times and won a Rookie of the Year, making him arguably baseball’s best player.
And he’s putting together an impressive All-Star resume.
Trout’s third-inning home run gave the AL a 2-0 lead.
Trout has been selected for seven All-Star Games and played in six. The home run extended his All-Star hitting streak to six games.
It was his second All-Star home run and makes him the third player to have two All-Star home runs before he turned 27.The others are Hall of Famers Al Kaline and Mickey Mantle.
“I didn’t know that,” Trout said. “This is a fun game, playing against the best. I try to keep things simple. Can’t think too much. When you keep the swing short, good things happen.”
Judge hit his home run in the first inning against Scherzer.
“It’s an amazing feeling to hit a home run (in the All-Star Game),” Judge said. “I didn’t believe it happened when it happened.”
The ball went into the AL bullpen and Judge’s pinstriped teammate, Luis Severino, wound up with it.
So Judge has a keepsake.
Like Trout, Judge is building a list of accomplishments, although he hasn’t been around as long as Trout.
Judge hit 52 home runs with 114 RBIs and won the AL Rookie of the Year while finishing second to Trout in the AL MVP race in 2017.
A year ago in Miami, Judge won the Home Run Derby and then hit four postseason home runs as the Yankees lost the AL pennant to Houston.
For his career, Judge has 81 home runs in 274 games. Henry Aaron hit 40 home runs in his first 274 games.
Judge didn’t know what to expect against Scherzer, the crowd of 43,843 amped for their hometown pitching hero.
But AL pitcher Justin Verlander had an idea of what was going to happen.
Before the at-bat, Verlander told him, “I have a feeling that you are going to hit a home run, so be ready,” Judge said.
Judge fouled off a pitch. Then, he hit the home run into the left-center field bullpen, 400 feet away.
“Cool moment,” Judge said.
The game was on its way to All-Star history.