TORONTO – J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first inning and the North League erupted for seven runs in the seventh in a 10-1 victory in the PGBL All-Star Game at Nationals Park.
Martinez, the designated hitter from the Cleveland Tribe, earned MVP honors, scoring twice in addition to the two-run blast. The NL also got homers from Tribe teammate Bryce Harper and Ottawa shortstop Carlos Correa.
Calgary starter Yu Darvish allowed a run on two hits in two innings before five NL pitchers blanked the South the rest of the way. Ottawa’s Carlos Carrasco was credited with the win as North pitchers totaled 13 strikeouts.
Two batters after Brooklyn catcher Buster Posey hit a leadoff double off Dublin’s Jacob deGrom, Martinez tagged the first pitch he saw over the left field fence to stake the North to a 2-0 lead.
In the second, the SL cut the lead in half when Memphis’ Nolan Arenado hit a one-out triple off Darvish and scored on a sacrifice fly by Clydesdales shortstop Paul DeJong.
Harper hit a leadoff homer in the fourth off Louisville’s Max Scherzer, who was the opening day starter for the host Toronto Tigers before getting traded to the Long Rifles.
The NL then broke the game open in the seventh against Oakland’s Zack Greinke and Tijuana’s David Price. Grienke allowed a leadoff single to Brooklyn’s Lonnie Chisenhall and walked Pittsburgh’s Manny Machado before Correa drove a 1-0 pitch out to left to make it 6-1.
After Martinez drew a walk, Price relieved Greinke. Harper reached on an error by Long Rifles second baseman Jonathan Schoop and Martinez came hoome on Ottawa’s Justin Smoak single to left.
London’s Jose Altuve lined a double to the gap in right-center that scored Harper and Calgary’s Tommy Pham plated Smoak and Altuve with asingle to center.
The South’s only hit after the fourth came on a single by Dublin’s Jose Ramirez with two outs in the eighth, loading the bases after the Tigers’ Kevin Gausman walked the first two batters he saw before striking out a pair.
Gausman escaped the jam by getting Clydesdales catcher Kevan Smith to ground out. Tribe closer Roberto Osuna finished with a perfect ninth, striking out Chris Taylor of St. Louis and Louisville’s George Springer to end the game.
The NL improved to 10-7 in All-Star Game history (dating to 2002) with it’s eighth win in the last nine contests.