American League continues its dominance over NL

Detroit Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez tags out Washington Nationals Alfonso Soriano at the plate during third inning of the baseball All Star Game in Pittsburgh Tuesday. The Associated Press

By The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH – No matter who’s on the mound, the National League can’t find a way to close out an All-Star game.

With the AL down to its final strike, Michael Young hit a two-run triple off Trevor Hoffman for a 3-2 victory Tuesday night that kept the Americans unbeaten for the past decade.

Behind David Wright’s homer and some daring, old-style baserunning, the NL took a 2-1 lead into the ninth and brought in Hoffman to try to finish it.

But the San Diego Padres’ reliever, closing in on the career saves record, failed to put this one away. He gave up a two-out single to Paul Konerko, who was replaced by pinch-runner Jose Lopez.

Then the NL nearly caught a break – it hasn’t had many since its last victory in Philadelphia in 1996.

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Troy Glaus’ smash bounded over the left-field fence for a ground-rule double, perhaps preventing Lopez from scoring.

The Rangers’ underrated shortstop lined an 0-2 pitch into right-center and slid into third with what was probably the biggest All-Star game hit since Texas teammate Hank Blalock’s go-ahead homer off Eric Gagne in the eighth inning in 2003.

Young earned the MVP award – and the AL again earned home-field advantage in the World Series.

“Nobody wants to make the last out of anything,” Glaus said, “whether it’s a regular season, World Series or an All-Star game.”

Young had seen Hoffman a couple of weeks ago in interleague play, and said that helped.

“When you have someone of that caliber, it’s always a tough at-bat,” he said. “I was just fortunate to make contact.”

Mariano Rivera worked around Lopez’s error at third base in the bottom half for his third All-Star save, tying Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for the career mark since the stat became official in 1969.

Old reliable for the New York Yankees, Rivera retired Milwaukee slugger Carlos Lee on a popup with a runner on second to end it – making the AL 9-0-1 in this summer showcase in the past 10 years.

The NL’s best result was a tie in 2002 in Milwaukee.

In fact, the AL has dominated year round, sweeping the last two World Series and winning 61 percent of interleague games this season.