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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ichiro leads off 2009 All-Star game in St. Louis with single to right field

That's our Ichiro!

Several pitches into the 2009 Major League Baseball All Star game in St. Louis, Missouri, the Seattle Mariners' champion right fielder, Ichiro Suzuki, lined a pitch from National League starting pitcher Tim Lincecum into right field for a single, giving the American League its first hit in the contest.

(Ichiro was later thrown out while attempting to advance to third base thanks to an exceptionally short, oddly hit grounder by the Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer, who himself managed to reach first base safely on fielder's choice. However, the American League was subsequently able to put two runs on the scoreboard... in no small part because of remarkably bad fielding by the National League.)

The score, as of this writing, is two to nothing. The American League has two hits, two runs, and no errors. The National League has one error, charged to St. Louis' hometown baseball hero, Albert Pujols.

Earlier, President Barack Obama was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Pujols, which landed, after arcing, in the first basemen's outstretched glove. Obama was greeted by fans at Busch Stadium with a standing ovation.

Obama also visited All-Star players in the locker room. Fox Sports showed the President signing a baseball for Ichiro, and kidding around with Pujols and the winner of last night's Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder.

(According to the Fox Sports announcers, as he was handing the baseball back to Ichiro, Obama reportedly said, "Here you go, Hall of Famer!")

Obama later showed up in the broadcast booth to chat with announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. The pair joked around with Obama about his White Sox jacket and the luck he brought the team after he threw out a pitch as a senator several years ago. (That was the year the White Sox went on to win the World Series).

Also appearing in tonight's All Star game, by the way, is Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, considered by many baseball observers to be the game's most promising pitcher. Hernandez will be pitching in relief later in the game.

UPDATE: While Obama was in the announcer's booth, the National League managed to score three runs, taking the lead away from the American League. So both of the game's starting pitchers, Lincecum and Halladay, have been roughed up. So much for this game being a pitcher's duel...

UPDATE II: Game's now tied at three to three. The Mariners' Felix Hernandez pitched a perfect sixth inning for the American League, retiring each of the three batters he faced by getting them to ground out.... including Albert Pujols, who left the game hitless. Pujols did redeem himself after his first inning error with a handful of very good defensive plays, however.

UPDATE III: American League wins, 4 to 3! Hurrah!


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