No matter what else happens in the All-Star Game, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will be a prime topic of conversation after turning in the most outstanding defensive play of the night. An absolute dazzler.
Machado backed up to the edge of the outfield grass to backhand a two-hopper from Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt along the line, the ball almost hitting him in the chest, and fired a perfect strike to first base for the out.
Again, Machado displayed keen instincts and soft hands. Again, he showed off his rifle arm.
Tonight, he did it in front of everyone.
FOX broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver kept raving about the play, the network showing it again and again. Orioles fans are getting used to it.
Former Orioles outfielder Luis Matos tweeted “Machado is going to win a Gold Glove this year!!!”
ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted, “Somewhere, Brooks Robinson is saying: I can’t believe he made that throw.”
The Seattle Times’ Larry Stone tweeted, “Manny Machado is unreal”
Bleacher Reports’ Will Carroll tweeted, “Machado is that good. He should really be talked about in same sentence as Trout and Harper”
Machado got his first at-bat with two outs in the eighth and struck out against Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel. He’s the only Oriole still in the game.
The Orioles are a collective 2-for-9 with an RBI and run scored.
Update: Joe Nathan closed out the ninth and the AL defeated the NL 3-0 at Citi Field to secure home field advantage in the World Series.
Chris Tillman didn’t get to pitch tonight.
Future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera provided the signature moment of the night by standing alone on the mound in the eighth inning while fans and players in both dugouts applauded him. His teammates didn’t join him on the field until he was halfway through his warmup tosses. Goosebumps.
AL manager Jim Leyland wanted to make sure that Rivera got to pitch in his final All-Star Game. Leyland didn’t want to wait until the ninth, just in case the NL rallied in the eighth to take the lead.
I understand his thinking, but it didn’t seem right for Nathan to collect the save. This was Rivera’s night.
Machado just borrowed it for a few minutes.