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