NEW YORK — Maybe one of the ghosts that some believe have taken residence in Yankee Stadium didn’t want see the final big show in the "House that Ruth Built" come to an end.
But even that spirit must have wanted to go to sleep, and Michael Young finally obliged early Wednesday morning.
The Texas Rangers’ shortstop lofted the game-winning sacrifice fly in the 15th inning to give the American League a 4-3 victory in the 79th All-Star Game.
The length of the game in time set an All-Star record, and the 15 innings tied the mark in the last season of Yankee Stadium. Each team was down to its final pitcher, but Young prevented the potential for a possible tie when he plated Justin Morneau.
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Boston outfielder J.D. Drew was named the MVP after going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the seventh inning. Former MVP Young, though, did what no other player could do: end the game.
“You can always expect something crazy to happen in Yankee Stadium,” said Young, who also drove home the winning run in the 2004 game. “It feels good. We all take a lot of pride in this game. We all know what it efforts, and I made a concerted effort to really try to win this game.
“We’re kind of beat and tired right now, but we’re happy with the effort we put in.”
The AL champion will have home-field advantage in the World Series thanks to a 12th consecutive victory in the game. Each team had a chance to win well before Morneau barely beat the throw of right-fielder Corey Hart 4 hours, 50 minutes after the first pitch.
Young, however, thought he had won the game in the 11th inning. He singled to center with one out, but Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro was thrown out at the plate.
“I thought that would be it right there,” Young said. “It wasn’t.”
The AL also had the bases loaded with no outs in the 10th — Young was at third — but pitcher Aaron Cook got three groundball outs to escape the jam.
The NL loaded the bases with one out in the 12th, but Dan Uggla and Adrian Gonzalez struck out.
“You usually don’t get to frustrated at an All-Star Game,” Kinsler said. “When you’re in extra innings and have a chance to win the game, guys get a little frustrated. We felt like it was going to last forever.”
Losing pitcher Brad Lidge was the NL’s last available arm, and the AL was down to only Scott Kazmir. Young said rookie third baseman Evan Longoria had volunteered to pitch, as had Drew.
The 2002 All-Star Game ended in a tie after 11 innings. Young said there would have been no shame in a tie this year.
“If you go 16 innings and no one comes up and wins, chalk it up to a tie and be happy with a tie,” he said. “It’s not like it could have been prevented.”