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Sacrifice by Young ends marathon All-Star Game

Jul 16, 2008 - 7:24 AM By Tom Covill PA SportsTicker Assistant Baseball Editor

BRONX, New York (Ticker) --The players enjoyed Yankee Stadium so much, they didn't want to leave.

Michael Young lifted a sacrifice fly to right field in the 15th inning to score Justin Morneau and give the American League a 4-3 victory over the National League in the longest All-Star Game in duration.

The game lasted four hours and 50 minutes, ending at 1:37 a.m. A total of 453 pitches were thrown, 285 strikes.

Brad Lidge (0-1) - the last remaining pitcher on the NL side - loaded the bases in the 15th before Young lifted a lazy fly to right. Corey Hart settled under the ball and fired to the plate, but the throw was slightly up the first base line, allowing Morneau to slide in safely.

"As long as we got the job done," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who started the game and stuck around in the dugout for the final out. "It was fun. The fans stuck around. There were still a lot of fans out there. They deserve a lot of credit. It was a well-pitched game.

Tampa Bay Rays lefthander Scott Kazmir, who pitched on Sunday and was not scheduled to throw in the game, was summoned from the bullpen in the 15th and picked up the win with one inning of work.

"It meant a lot," Kazmir said of the victory. "It meant a lot to everyone. We really left it all out there on the field. To go 15 innings like that, it's good to have something to show for it."

The All-Star festivities have been used as one big goodbye to Yankee Stadium, which has a date with a wrecking ball in November.

"It feels unbelievable," Texas Rangers shortstop Ian Kinsler said. "You're a part of history and there are a lot of Hall of Famers around the game. Around the field before the game was special. Just the whole night was pretty out of control."

The game tied the record for longest Midsummer Classic in terms of innings and surpassed the record in terms of total time.

"It's tough because the starters go in there and get one or two at-bats," Young said. "If they get a hit, it's cool or whatever. Everyone of the games I've played in (as a reserve) because the game means something at the end, I've never been part of a blowout so every time I play it means something."

Records were set across the board, as the teams combined for the most total stolen bases in a Midsummer Classic - seven, six by the AL - and strikeouts with 34, 17 apiece.

"This All Star Game is special among the four big sports," Young said. "Players really play hard in these games. In hockey for obvious reasons they're not going to sit there and get after it like they usually do. In the NFL, the season's over and basketball it's an alley-oop fest.

"But in baseball we play hard in this game. We're not going to go out there and break any ankles at second base on double plays but we're going to play hard. Whether or not it decides home-field advantage for the World Series or it doesn't, we're going to go out there and play hard and try to win."

Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who entered the contest with six errors on the season, set a dubious mark with three miscues in the contest.

"I was just sticking my glove down," Uggla said. "Stuff like that happens sometimes. It's not for a lack of concentration. Put it behind you and move on.

"The way it was going it didn't seem like it was going to end, but with all the chances, each team kept making plays. It was a lot of fun."

Lidge, who was charged with one run on two hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning, warmed up at least three times in anticipation of a save situation.

"I warmed up so many times, but I don't want to make excuses," Lidge said. "I threw some pretty good sliders and they dumped them in.

"If you're going to play that long, you sure would like to win."

Much to the chagrin of the home fans, Boston Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew was named the game's MVP. The slugger became the 15th player in All-Star history to homer in his first at-bat, clubbing a two-run blast off Edinson Volquez to knot the score at 2-2 in the seventh.

"He might have been a little more of an MVPer if we went a couple of more innings," Boston and AL manager Terry Francona said. "He might have pitched. ... I'm glad it was one one of our guys (to win the award), I mean American League guys. If they're handing that award out to a guy on the National League team, I'm not sitting here smiling as much."

The Yankee Stadium crowd rose in approval as Drew's blast cleared the fence, but began to boo again as he rounded third and headed toward home.

"Yeah, it was brief, to say the least," Drew said of the cheers. "It was a little weird. I heard about it when I got back to right field, for sure. Then as the game went along, I think they forgot that I hit a home run, and it picked up again."

The AL squad threatened to end the game against Colorado's Aaron Cook in both the 10th and 11th. The junior circuit loaded the bases with no outs in the 10th on pair of errors by Uggla and an intentional walk.

Cook forced three straight groundballs to escape the jam.

Cook caught a break in the 11th when Ian Kinsler was thrown out trying to steal second after a leadoff single, but surrendered a walk to Dioner Navarro and a single to Drew to put runners on first and second.

Young followed with a sharp single to center field. The Pirates' Nate McClouth picked up the ball on the run and fired towards home, where catcher Russell Martin had the plate blocked. Navarro was out, and Cook retired Carlos Quentin to end the threat.

The NL loaded the bases in the 12th, but lefthander George Sherrill came on to strike out Adrian Gonzalez and end the senior circuit's best scoring opportunity.

Tampa Bay rookie Evan Longoria had a pair of chances to win the game in extra innings but could not deliver.

"It was tough for me because I had two chances to win the game with a runner on third and less than two outs," Longoria said. "I was just having nightmares already. If we would have lost this game, I was going to have to go home and think about my two chances to win it."

The NL held a 3-2 lead in the eighth after an unearned run off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was the source of vociferous booing by the Yankee Stadium crowd after an article in a New York newspaper suggested that the Boston closer believed he should get the call over Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in a save situation.

The AL tied the score again in the bottom of the frame, when Longoria lifted a ground-rule double down the left -field line to score Grady Sizemore, who had singled and stolen second base.