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.

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