Fans expected plenty of home runs at BB&T BallPark during Wednesday night’s Triple-A All-Star Game.
But it was a lowly grounder – and an out, at that – that was the difference in the International League’s 4-2 victory over the Pacific Coast League in the 29th-annual All-Star Game.
Lehigh Valley’s Cam Perkins drove in the game-winning run with his one-out groundout, scoring Syracuse’s Brian Goodwin in the bottom of the fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie.
Goodwin led off the inning with a single, then moved to third on a double down the first-base line by Rochester’s Jorge Polanco.
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Perkins then dribbled a slow grounder to Nashville shortstop Chad Pinder, who threw Perkins out at first as Goodwin raced home.
Of course, Wednesday’s All-Star Game did have its share of long balls.
Las Vegas’ Travis Taijeron put the Pacific Coast League in the lead with his two-run homer to right-center field in the top of the second inning. He was named the PCL’s most valuable player.
But the IL got back in the game thanks to solo home runs from Columbus’ Erik Gonzalez in the bottom of the second and Lehigh Valley’s Andrew Knapp in the bottom of the fourth.
Pawtucket’s Chris Marrero, the winner of Monday’s All-Star Game Home Run Derby, added an insurance run for the IL in the bottom of the eighth, smashing a towering home run to deep center field. That earned him the IL’s most valuable player honors.
Three who mattered
Cam Perkins, Lehigh Valley: The IronPigs’ two-way player drove in the game-winning run with some small ball – a groundout in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Austin Pruitt, Durham: Bulls reliever got the win in Wednesday’s All-Star Game, retiring the PCL side in the top of the fifth inning.
Edward Mujica, Lehigh Valley: IronPigs reliever was the last of the IL’s 11 pitchers, and got the save with just four pitches.
▪ Relief pitcher Brad Goldberg, the Charlotte Knights’ lone player in the All-Star Game, pitched the top of the seventh inning for the IL team. But he didn’t stay out there long, getting pulled for Lehigh Valley’s Edward Mujica after facing just two batters.
▪ Of course, PCL manager Wally Backman topped that in the bottom of the seventh, using three different pitchers – Colorado Springs’ Damien Magnifico, Tacoma’s Blake Parker and Omaha’s Andrew Edwards – to face three batters in a 1-2-3 inning.
▪ The Pacific Coast League managed just three hits against the International League, and none after the fourth inning. Meanwhile, the IL got eight hits off 11 different PCL pitchers.
▪ Charlotte Country Day baseball coach Mike Hennessey was a busy guy during All-Star Game week. His pitching to former Buccaneers player Trent Alley in Monday’s Home Run Derby impressed enough people that Hennessey also threw to two of the All-Stars taking part in the contest (including runner-up Kyle Jensen of Reno), and did most of the pitching during batting practice for both the Pacific Coast and International League teams Tuesday and Wednesday.
▪ Former Charlotte Knights Charlie Manuel and Jim Thome were inducted into the Charlotte Baaseball Roundtable of Honor on Wednesday morning. Manuel managed the Knights in 1993 when it was the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A franchise, before going on to manage the Indians and Philadelphia Phillies. Thome spent the 1993 season with the Knights before hitting 612 home runs in 22 major-league seasons with Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles.
▪ Taking in Wednesday night’s All-Star Game from the corporate suites was former Charlotte mayor and current North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.