The American League beat the National League 5-3 in a well-played All-Star Game at Target Field on Tuesday night, and even though no members of the White Sox' contingent started, each of their three representatives saw a fair amount of action.
In case you missed it, here's a quick rundown of the games within the game, in order of on-field success.
No. 1: Alexei Ramirez
Ramirez entered the game in the top of the fourth inning to a huge standing ovation, which was obviously for him.
The minutes-long delay seemed unnecessary -- and "New York, New York" was a curious song selection -- but he lived up to the fanfare. He went 1-for-2 at the plate, lining a single to left in the fifth, and forcing an error with a hard-hit ball at Freddie Freeman in the seventh.
Beyond that, his baserunning was pretty sweet. His stolen base in the seventh inning shows up in the box score -- and there's a Statcast video of it! -- but his retreat to third base on a wild pitch was the more impressive play. The first pitch by Washington's Tyler Clippard sailed over Devin Mesoraco's head, but the Cincinnati catcher wheeled around, made a great leaping catch on a hard carom off the Kasota stone backstop, and then made an on-target throw to third.
It was such a bizarre bounce and such a brilliant play by Mesoraco that I don't think anybody would've faulted Ramirez for getting caught too far off third, but he scrambled back somehow ...
... and Altuve eventually drove him in with a sac fly.
The Fox camera showed a split-second of Ramirez giving Mesoraco a finger wag -- not enough to GIF, but it probably looked similar to the one he gave Carlos Gomez the play before, when Ramirez pulled up at third on a strong throw home.
Basically, he looked like a guy who enjoyed the hell out of his first All-Star Game. And of greater importance to White Sox fans, it looks like his back is fine.
No. 2: Jose Abreu
The timing of Abreu's entrance limited him to one at-bat, and Abreu limited himself to one pitch in his at-bat, hitting a routine fly to left off Pittsburgh's Tony Watson. I don't think you could call him impatient, because he took a good rip at a hittable slider that might've just been just in enough.
He made a bigger impact in the field, completing Jose Altuve's nice ranging play to his right by scooping the low throw to retire Dee Gordon for a key second out in the sixth inning.
Regardless of the limited on-field action, it sounds like being there was enough for Abreu, judging from his postgame comments:
Shortly after he and his fellow All-Stars had been introduced and were standing on the first-base line at Target Field, the Cuban native couldn’t hold back the tears as singer Idina Menzel belted out the National Anthem.
The majors’ leading home-run hitter later entered his first All-Star Game in the top of the sixth inning and finished 0-for-1 in the American League’s 5-3 victory over the National League.
"When I heard the National Anthem it hit me," Abreu said through White Sox spokesperson Lou Hernandez. "I love the Anthem. When I learn English I’m going to sing it."
No. 3: Chris Sale
Sale entered the game in the fourth inning for his fourth career inning of All-Star work, and he couldn't preserve his 0.00 ERA in Midsummer Classics. He tried getting by mostly on 97-mph fastballs, but he might have been too amped up for his own good:
"Just grip and rip for an inning and see how it goes," Sale said. [...]
"Sometimes you get a little too hyped out there," Sale said. "You get going a little too quick. My main thing was to stay back a little bit, get under control. It happens. I still enjoyed it."
An errant fastball clipped Chase Utley's elbow with two outs, and Jonathan Lucroy took a 3-1 fastball off the wall in right to drive in the speedy Gordon, who pinch-ran for Utley. That tied the game at 3, and with the go-ahead run at second, Sale went back to mixing up his pitches to get out of the inning. At least Sale contributed one of his patented silly-looking strikeouts to the cause, and at least Gomez was the victim.