Key Homers, Plenty of Strikeouts power SL

CALGARY, Alberta – Cody Bellinger and Carlos Santana homered in a three-run fourth inning that propelled the South League to an 8-2 win in the PGBL All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park.

The SL prevailed for the third time in four years as 10 pitchers racked up 14 strikeouts while scattering six hits. Ten of the strikeouts came from the first four hurlers: Oakland’s duo of Mike Clevinger (three) and Max Scherzer (two), followed by St. Louis teammates Hyun-Jin Ryu (two) and Lance Lynn (three).

Compton’s Bellinger broke a scoreless deadlock with a solo shot down the right field line off Pittsburgh’s Mike Soroka. The NL then turned to Boston’s John Gant, who got Jorge Soler to ground out before walking Louisville’s Yoan Moncada.

Santana then blasted a 1-2 pitch deep into the right field stands for a 3-0, earning him MVP honors.

The NL mounted a rally in the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out against Dublin’s Jacob deGrom. But the Guinness righty got London’s Ketel Marte to ground to Santana, who threw home to force out Chicago’s Mike Trout.

Pittsburgh’s Freddie Freeman grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice that plated Cobras teammate Ronald Acuna Jr., but deGrom avoided further damage by getting the Braves’ Jonathan Villar on a third straight ground out.

The South broke the game open in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs against Chicago’s Ken Giles before Memphis’ Juan Soto greeted Brooklyn’s Joe Jimenez with a two-run single. After a double steal by Dublin’s Mookie Betts and Soto, the Outlawz’s Eugenio Suarez drove them both home with a single off Cleveland’s Taylor Rogers.

The SL pushed the lead to 8-1 in the ninth when the Clydesdales’ Carson Kelly came in on a ground out by St. Louis teammate Jorge Polanco. After Vancouver’s Brandon Lowe smacked a two-out solo homer to center off Compton’s Scott Oberg in the bottom half, host Calgary’s Mitch Garver popped out on the next pitch to end the game.

Acuna singled twice as the only player with multiple hits. Ryu earned the win while Soroka took the loss.

Box score

Verlander, Clevinger tabbed to start All-Star Game; Reserves Announced

Justin Verlander of the Chicago Cardinals will start on the mound for the host North League in the 2020 All-Star Game, with Oakland Athletes ace Mike Clevinger starting for the South League.

Verlander, who will make his second start in his third All-Star appearance, enters the break with an 11-4 record and an NL-best 2.26 ERA. Clevinger will make his All-Star debut after going 13-0 with a league-leading 2.23 ERA in the first half.

Oakland, with a staggering record of 71-18, led the way with six All-Star selections with rosters expanded to 30 players. Chicago and Ottawa each had five players chosen, followed by Compton, Dublin, St. Louis and Flagstaff with four apiece. Las Vegas and Twin City were the only teams with just one representative, with Eric Sogard picked from the Gamblers and Nick Castellanos getting the Truckers’ nod.

Oakland pitcher Max Scherzer was picked for the sixth time (three in each league), matching Chris Sale for the most selections without a start. Sonny Gray will join Scherzer on the staff from the Athletes, who have three batters in the starting lineup but no bench players.

Dublin’s Jacob deGrom makes his third straight appearance after starting the past two years. He is joined on the SL staff by Guinness teammate Trevor Gott, Clydesdales starters Hyun-Jin Ryu and Lance Lynn, Outlawz relievers Tyler Glasnow and Scott Oberg, and Elk closer Hansel Robles.

Verlander is one of four Cardinals pitchers on the NL squad, joining Charlie Morton, Zack Britton and Ken Giles. The rest of the North staff features Ottawa’s Lucas Giolito, Pittsburgh’s Mike Soroka, Boston’s John Hicks, Brooklyn’s Joe Jimenez, Cleveland’s Taylor Rogers and Vancouver stopper Steve Cishek.

The NL-leading Wildcats did not have any starters but will be represented on the bench by Brandon Lowe and Nelson Cruz. Batting leader Luiz Arraez of the Argonauts headlines the infield reserves, joined by the Cubs’ Miguel Sano and Braves teammates Jonathan Villar and Jeff McNeil.

Catcher Mitch Garver joins starting DH J.D. Martinez in representing the host Calgary Roughnecks, while the London outfield duo of Ketel Marte and George Springer, the Cobras’ Ronald Acuna Jr., and Tribe slugger Bryce Harper complete the NL roster.

The remainder of the SL bench features Memphis outfielders Juan Soto and Aristides Aquino, shortstop Marcus Semien and outfielder Charlie Blackmon from Tijuana, catcher Carson Kelly and shortstop Jorge Polanco from St. Louis, Dublin outfielder Mookie Betts, Compton third baseman Eugenio Suarez, and Flagstaff first baseman Josh Bell.

SOUTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS
Pitchers

Mike Clevinger, Oakland (SP)
Jacob deGrom, Dublin
Max Scherzer, Oakland
Hyun-Jin Ryu, St. Louis
Sonny Gray, Oakland
Lance Lynn, St. Louis
Hansel Robles, Flagstaff
Tyler Glasnow, Compton
Trevor Gott, Dublin
Scott Oberg, Compton
Reserves
Carson Kelly, St. Louis
Josh Bell, Flagstaff
Eric Sogard, Las Vegas
Jorge Polanco, St. Louis
Marcus Semien, Tijuana
Eugenio Suarez, Compton
Mookie Betts, Dublin
Juan Soto, Memphis
Nick Castellanos, Twin City
Charlie Blackmon, Tijuana
Aristides Aquino, Memphis
Lineup
SS – Fernando Tatis Jr., Flagstaff
LF – Christian Yelich, Louisville
DH – Yordan Alvarez, Flagstaff
CF – Cody Bellinger, Compton
RF – Jorge Soler, Oakland
3B – Yoan Moncada, Louisville
1B – Carlos Santana, Oakland
C – Willson Contreras, Dublin
2B – DJ LeMahieu, Oakland

NORTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS
Pitchers

Justin Verlander, Chicago (SP)
Mike Soroka, Pittsburgh
Lucas Giolito, Ottawa
Charlie Morton, Chicago
John Gant, Boston
Joe Jimenez, Brooklyn
Zack Britton, Chicago
Taylor Rogers, Cleveland
Ken Giles, Chicago
Steve Cishek, Vancouver
Reserves
Mitch Garver, Calgary
Brandon Lowe, Vancouver
Luis Arraez, Ottawa
Jonathan Villar, Boston
Miguel Sano, Brooklyn
Jeff McNeil, Boston
Ketel Marte, London
George Springer, London
Bryce Harper, Cleveland
Ronald Acuna, Pittsburgh
Nelson Cruz, Vancouver
Lineup
2B – Jose Altuve, Toronto
CF – Mike Trout, Chicago
3B – Josh Donaldson, Ottawa
LF – Joc Pederson, London
DH – J.D. Martinez, Calgary
1B – Freddie Freeman, Pittsburgh
SS – Carlos Correa, Ottawa
C – Russell Martin, Ottawa
RF – Austin Meadows, Toronto

Trout to start 6th All-Star Game

Mike Trout has been chosen to start the PGBL All-Star game for a record sixth time, leading an North League lineup that features seven former starters in contrast to the South League’s six first-time selections.

League-leading Oakland matched Ottawa with three players chosen to start. Athletes second baseman DJ LeMahieu will make his first start in his second All-Star game and will be joined by a pair of first-timer teammates in first baseman Carlos Santana and outfielder Jorge Soler.

Argonauts shortstop Carlos Correa earned his third start while catcher Russell Martin and third baseman Josh Donaldson will start for the second time, with Donaldson making his fifth All-Star appearance.

Trout, who had been one of 10 players to make five All-Star starts, will represent the Chicago Cardinals in the initial lineup for a fourth straight year. His sixth appearance leaves him two behind Albert Pujols and one shy of Miguel Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez and Adrian Beltre.

Joining him in the NL lineup are four-time starters Freddie Freeman of Pittsburgh and Jose Altuve, now representing Toronto after previously starting for Louisville, London and Oakland.

Now with Louisville, outfielder Christian Yelich will make his fourth SL appearance and third start for a third different team. Representing host Calgary, NL designated hitter J.D. Martinez makes his fourth appearance and second start.

Dublin catcher Willson Contreras starts for the second time, with All-Star rookies Cody Bellinger of Compton, Yoan Moncada of Louisville and Flagstaff teammates Fernando Tatis Jr. and Yordan Alvarez rounding out the SL lineup. Completing the NL squad are a pair of first-timers in outfielder Joc Pederson of London and Austin Meadows of Toronto.

Pitchers and reserves will be announced later, with the game set to be played two weeks from now.

2019 ALL-STAR STARTERS
South League

C – Willson Contreras, Dublin
1B – Carlos Santana, Oakland
2B – DJ LeMahieu, Oakland
SS – Fernando Tatis Jr., Flagstaff
3B – Yoan Moncada, Louisville
LF – Jorge Soler, Oakland
CF – Cody Bellinger, Compton
RF – Christian Yelich, Louisville
DH – Yordan Alvarez, Flagstaff
North League
C – Russell Martin, Ottawa
1B – Freddie Freeman, Pittsburgh
2B – Jose Altuve, Toronto
SS – Carlos Correa, Ottawa
3B – Josh Donaldson, Ottawa
LF – Austin Meadows, Toronto
CF – Mike Trout, Chicago
RF – Joc Pederson, London
DH – J.D. Martinez, Calgary

Flagstaff’s Diaz sparks SL to All-Star triumph

MINNEAPOLIS – Flagstaff catcher Elias Diaz connected on a key three-run home run as the South League won its second All-Star Game in three seasons with a 5-3 victory.

Diaz had two hits and scored twice in becoming the third Elk player to earn MVP honors, joining Bobby Crosby (2006) and Rich Harden (2009). The SL victory trimmed the North’s advantage in the series to 10-8.

Louisville’s Max Scherzer, the second of the South’s 10 pitchers, earned the victory with two strikeouts in his one inning.

Pittsburgh first baseman Freddie Freeman, a former All-Star MVP, was the only player with two hits for the North. He staked the NL to an early 1-0 lead with an RBI double after Boston’s Jeff McNeil drew a walk from Dublin’s Jacob deGrom to start the game.

But the South pulled even in the second when Guinness first baseman tripled off Ottawa’s Blake Snell with one out and scored on a double by Tijuana’s Brandon Nimmo.

Diaz started the SL’s go-ahead rally an inning later by greeting Vancouver’s Chris Sale with a leadoff single. After two ground outs moved Diaz to third, the Long Rifles’ Francisco Lindor singled through the right side to make it 2-1.

After Nimmo drew a one-out walk from the Cobras’ Cole Hamels in the fourth, Oakland’s Justin Turner singled back up the middle to put runners on the corners. Diaz then drove an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right field for a 5-1 advantage.

While the South managed just one more hit against the final five NL pitchers, the North could not battle all the way back. Brooklyn’s Trevor Story plated Freeman with a double off Flagstaff’s Kyle Freeland in the fifth, and the Cubs’ Dee Gordon reached on an error in the seventh before scoring on a single by Calgary’s Max Muncy.

But Dublin’s Brad Hand retired five of the six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth and Oakland’s Edwin Diaz notched the save by striking out Muncy to end the game.

PGBL ALL-STAR GAME HISTORY

Box Score

Nola, deGrom to start All-Star Game

Twenty more first-time selections were among the pitchers and reserves added to the rosters for the 2019 PGBL All-Star Game.

Chicago’s Aaron Nola, one of the newcomers, and Dublin’s Jacob deGrom will start on the mound, with deGrom getting the South League nod for a second straight season.

Brooklyn second baseman Dee Gordon is the only hitter on the North League bench with All-Star experience. Joining him are Cubs teammate Trevor Story, catcher Yan Gomes of Chicago, Pittsburgh teammates Anthony Rendon and Ronald Acuna, and Calgary’s Max Muncy.

The South reserves are led by three-time All-Star J.D. Martinez of Louisville and two-timer Scooter Gennett of Tijuana. Other hitters on the SL bench are Tyler White of Las Vegas, Adalberto Mondesi of host Twin City, and the Memphis duo of Alex Bregman and Juan Soto.

Vancouver’s Chris Sale returns to the NL pitching staff for his sixth appearance in seven seasons after missing last year’s game. The Cardinals put four hurlers on the team in Nola, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Craig Kimbrel.

The rest of the NL staff features returnee Cole Hamels of Pittsburgh and newcomers Blake Snell of Ottawa, Cody Allen of Cleveland and Boston releivers Raisel Iglesias and Craig Stammen.

Oakland’s Zack Greinke , while Louisville’s Max Scherzer of the Long Rifles makes his fourth straight appearance and fifth overall. The squad’s other starting pitchers are four-time pick Zack Greinke of Oakland and ERA leader Kyle Freeland of Flagstaff.

Four-time pick Dellin Betances of Dublin joins five new selections among South releivers: Guinness teammate Brad Hand, Athletes closer Edwin Diaz, Melee teammates Jose Leclerc and Aroldis Chapman, and Compton representative Reyes Moronta. All-time roster

NORTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS
Pitchers
Aaron Nola, Chicago (SP)
Chris Sale, Vancouver
Blake Snell, Ottawa
Gerrit Cole, Chicago
Justin Verlander, Chicago
Cole Hamels, Pittsburgh
Craig Kimbrel, Chicago
Raisel Iglesias, Boston
Craig Stammen, Boston
Cody Allen, Cleveland
Reserves
Yan Gomes, Chicago
Max Muncy, Calgary
Dee Gordon, Brooklyn
Trevor Story, Brooklyn
Anthony Rendon, Pittsburgh
Ronald Acuna, Pittsburgh

SOUTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS
Pitchers
Jacob deGrom, Dublin (SP)
Max Scherzer, Louisville
Zack Greinke, Oakland
Kyle Freeland, Flagstaff
Dellin Betances, Dublin
Brad Hand, Dublin
Jose Leclerc, Memphis
Aroldis Chapman, Memphis
Reyes Moronta, Compton
Edwin Diaz Oakland
Reserves
Tyler White, Las Vegas
Scooter Gennett, Tijuana
Alex Bregman, Memphis
Adalberto Mondesi, Twin City
Juan Soto, Memphis
J.D. Martinez, Louisville

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