Phillies manager and players shine as National League wins All-Star Game Originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Rob Thomson became the sixth Phillies manager to lead an all-star team Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. And, if the past was any prologue, it boded well for the National League’s chances of ending its nine-game losing streak in the St. John’s Classic.
You see, the NL almost always wins with a Phillies manager running the game from the bench: Eddie Sawyer in 1951. Dallas Green in 1981. Paul Owens in 1984. Jim Fregosi in 1994. Charlie Manuel in 2010.
And now, after the 3-2 National League victory in ’93rd renewal of the rivalry, Thomson can add his name to this list.
The only time a Phillies manager doesn’t celebrate after the 2009 match, when Manuel NL’s team was edged out by a run.
Thomson only had two of his own players on the roster, but both contributed.
Right fielder Nick Castellanos was right in the middle of the winning rally in the top of the eighth. And Craig Kimbrel came on late in the ninth to earn the stoppage after putting the tying and winning runs on base.
Kimbrel opened the ninth by pulling Wander Franco of the Rays and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays. But Kyle Tucker of the Astros walked, bringing hometown favorite Julio Rodriguez of the Mariners to the plate. Songs of Ju-li-o! Ju-li-o! Ju-li-o! echoed in the stands as he also worked a base on balls to place the runners in the first and second rows.
But Kimbrel pulled back to knock out Jose Ramirez of the Guardians to clinch the win.
“It was a lot of fun. “I hate to have walked two guys, but to face Rodriguez there and see that crowd get to their feet and get excited, I took a moment at the back of the mound and I have taken. It was pretty cool to see,” Kimbrel said. Tom Verducci on the court afterwards. “I’m glad I got the job done. It’s been a while since the National League won, so it’s good.”
Kimbrel has over 400 career saves. He won a world championship. He will be a serious candidate for the Hall of Fame after his retirement. But he said his first All-Star save was special.
“This year has been something else,” he said. “The milestones that I was able to cross and exceed. The report I had with my teammates (of the Phillies). They have been excited for me and rooting for me all year. I have to pinch myself. It seems to be one thing after another this year. Hopefully I can keep going and we get a good rhythm and play good baseball for the rest of the year.
Castellanos, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth and stayed to play center, led in the eighth against Orioles towering right-hander Felix Bautista. After fouling on four straight throws at one point, he worked a walk then moved up to second on a wild throw. He was taking a big lead in second, forcing Bautista to watch out for him, when Rockies catcher Elias Diaz hit a two-run left homer to give the National League the lead for the first time.
Diaz was named Ted Williams’ All-Star Most Valuable Player.
The American League had won the last nine All-Star Games. The last time the NL won was in 2012. Kimbrel, then representing the Braves, faced Asdrubel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler and knocked them both out in the NL’s 8-0 win at the Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
In their history, the Phillies have participated in the World Series eight times. They only won twice. But the following year, when their manager goes to the All-Star Game, the Phillies are almost perfect.
In other sightings of a starry, starry night. . .
— Rangers right-hander Nathan Eovaldi has the longest scoreless streak (29 2/3 innings) of any Big League pitcher this season, but wasn’t sharp when he pitched the second inning. He gave up two singles and was behind in the count most of the time; he went 2-0 to the first two batters he faced. Maybe he was nervous. Maybe it was just one of those nights.
Or maybe he was a little distracted because he was one of many players wearing a microphone and carrying on a conversation with the FOX broadcast booth while simultaneously facing off against some of baseball’s best hitters. .
Later in the game, San Diego’s Josh Hader also pitched while micro.
— The main focus, as always, was hitting and throwing. But it was the defense that stole the show early in the first. The Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. started by tearing up a long right drive off Yankees starter Gerrit Cole, but the Rays’ Randy Arozarena made a leaping catch at the base of the wall to take away extra bases.
Acuna’s Atlanta teammate Freddie Freeman was next and he drilled a left shot that Rangers’ Adolis Garcia fired in the air over the top of the fence.
– Arozarena flashed the leather again in the fourth, again dropping his feet to steal Braves receiver Sean Murphy on the warning track.
— Bizarre sequence at the beginning of the seventh. With one out, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. of the Diamondbacks appeared to even the score at two with a long solo homer left against the Blue Jays closer to Jordan Romano. After a review, however, it was ruled that the ball was just a foul.
But when Gurriel returned to home plate, Tigers right-hander Michael Lorenzen came out of the bullpen to relieve Romano, who was apparently experiencing some tightness in his lower back.
— The 2024 All-Star Game will be played at Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers. The ’25 venue has yet to be announced and the 2026 game will be played at Citizens Bank Park. Major League Baseball made this selection earlier than usual in tribute to late Phillies president Dave Montgomery, who made it clear he wanted Philadelphia to host the Midsummer Classic to coincide with the nation’s half-quincentennial celebration. .