MIAMI — Aaron Judge seemed to know Monday night would be difficult to top.
“The pitchers aren’t going to be lobbing in there tonight,” Judge said a couple of hours before Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Marlins Park, where he put on the show of shows in winning the Home Run Derby. “Just go out there, have some fun and try to make some contact. Going to be facing the best of the best.”
Facing three of the best the National League has to offer, starting with Max Scherzer of the Nationals and continuing with Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals and Alex Wood of the Dodgers, Judge went 0-for-3 in the American League’s 2-1 victory over the National League in 10 innings.
“I was a little sore, a little tired from the Derby, just running on adrenaline,” the 25-year-old Judge smiled. “This was an awesome experience . . . what a day. What a couple days.”
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, a former Derby champion who cheered on Judge Monday night as if he was still a Yankee, won MVP honors with a tiebreaking homer off the Cubs’ Wade Davis to lead off the 10th. Cano was an injury replacement for the Yankees’ Starlin Castro, who is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Andrew Miller, dealt by the Yankees at last year’s trade deadline to the Indians, earned the save. The lefthander walked Joey Votto with two outs but Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers struck out to end it. It was the fifth victory in a row for the American League, which has won 17 of the past 21 matchups.
Remarkably, after 88 All-Star Games, the series stands at 43-43-2 and, more remarkable, the run total is 361-361.
Still, for all the late excitement, a decidedly different — meaning far less — buzz permeated the ballpark compared to the previous night when Judge hit four balls in excess of 500 feet in capturing the Derby crown.
“He was probably exhausted from hitting all those home runs last night,” teammate Dellin Betances said.
Betances, in his fourth All-Star Game, pitched a scoreless third inning but hardly inspired confidence that his control issues were behind him. Betances allowed a hit, two walks and threw two wild pitches, but did get Daniel Murphy to ground out with the bases loaded.
Mets outfielder Michael Conforto gave the New York position-player contingent, which included Gary Sanchez, its lone hit, a one-out single to left in the seventh off Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna. Conforto had a chance to win it in the ninth with runners at second and third and two outs against Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel but struck out.
“It was a lot of adrenaline,” Conforto said. “I wanted that hit pretty bad, but Kimbrel’s got great stuff. That thing was like a bowling ball coming in there.”
Sanchez, who replaced Salvador Perez in the sixth, got his first career All-Star at-bat in the seventh against Padres reliever Brad Hand, a potential Yankees trade target, and grounded to second. He struck out against Kenley Jansen in the ninth
Yankees righty Luis Severino, also a first-time All-Star, said he was just fine not appearing in the game, though he would have had the game gone to the 11th.
Judge, voted in as the AL’s starting rightfielder and earlier in the day tabbed by commissioner Rob Manfred as a potential future “face of the game,” stepped up for his first career All-Star Game at-bat with one out in the first.
Judge, with a major league-best 30 homers, fell in a 0-and-2 hole. But Judge, with an AL-best .448 OBP at the break, didn’t go down easily.
Judge took three straight balls before finally swinging and missing at a well-placed slider by Scherzer, the NL leader in ERA (2.10) and strikeouts (173).
“Good pitch,” Judge said. “See why he was the NL starter. Great competitor. That [at-bat] was pretty cool. I was nervous the first pitch, then after that, it’s go-time. 3-2, I was getting ready for 100 [mph], I got a slider. It happens.”
Against hard-throwing Martinez in the third, Judge grounded a 99-mph fastball to short for the third out. Judge’s final at-bat came in the fifth. during which the AL took a 1-0 lead on Miguel Sano’s bloop single to right against Wood that drove in Jonathan Schoop, who doubled with two outs.
Judge, who described himself as “a little kid from Linden, California getting to live a dream right now,” fell behind Wood 1-and-2 in the fifth before flying to deep center to end the inning. Justin Upton of the Tigers replaced him in right in the bottom half of the inning.
“Just got it off the end a little bit,” Judge said of the Wood pitch he hit to center. “Changeup away. It happens, man. They’re all All-Stars. They’re going to fool you every now and then.”