J.T. Realmuto never put the ball in play in his first two visits to the plate in an All-Star Game.
But he reached base twice and almost became part of a memorable ninth-inning comeback.
Realmuto walked twice drawing his second off Seattle Mariners’ closer Edwin Diaz with one out in the ninth and the National League All-Stars down by two. Cincinnati Reds’ Scooter Gennett then belted a two-run home run off Diaz to send the game to extra innings.
But a victory wasn’t in the cards, however, for Realmuto and his NL teammates as the American League prevailed 8-6 in 10 innings after back-to-back solo home runs by a pair of Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman and George Springer sparked a three-run frame.
Bregman was named the game’s MVP.
Realmuto doesn’t usually draw walks often.
Realmuto has only walked 17 times this season in 303 plate appearances and for his career spanning five seasons, he has 101 walks in 1,924 plate appearances.
“It would have been great to squeeze out a win there in the ninth,” Realmuto said. “I’m not a guy who walks a lot. Obviously I wanted to get a hit there, but it was good to put together a couple of good at-bats and I had a lot of fun out there.”
Realmuto was the Marlins’ lone All-Star, placed in the game by the league after not earning either the fan vote or player vote despite putting up some of the best offensive and defensive numbers of any catcher in the game during the season’s first half.
Realmuto entered the game in the sixth inning replacing the National League’s starter behind the plate, Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs.
Realmuto caught the final five innings of the game and made his first plate appearance in the bottom of the sixth drawing a walk following a 10-pitch battle with Houston Astros’ pitcher Charlie Morton.
Realmuto got the chance to run on the base paths a little bit as he reached third on a ground out by Atlanta Braves’ second baseman Ozzie Albies and a subsequent wild pitch. But Realmuto was stranded there when Milwaukee Brewers’ first baseman Jesus Aguilar popped out to end the inning.
Right before Realmuto’s first turn to the plate, Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story homered to left field off Houston pitcher Charlie Morton to tie the game at 2.
The teams combined for 10 home runs setting a new All-Star Game record.
The game capped a memorable week both personally and professionally for Realmuto, whose wife gave birth to their first child exactly one week earlier. Both attended Tuesday’s game along with his parents, brother, sister and his four nephews.
“It was a great week, but now I’m just excited to go home and spend a few days with my daughter,” Realmuto said. “I’m definitely pumped for that.”
Realmuto also shared the All-Star experience with former Marlins’ teammate Christian Yelich, who was also making his debut as an All-Star.
Both players were drafted in 2010 by the Marlins and played on several minor-league teams together as they moved up through the Miami Marlins’ farm system.
Yelich and Realmuto had to go their separate ways last January when Yelich was traded in one of the Marlins’ notable offseason moves restructuring their roster.
This week, you couldn’t tell they had spent the past five months wearing different uniforms.
Both Realmuto and Yelich caught up upon each player’s arrival at the festivities on Monday and spent most of the pregame chatting during warmups.
They even stood one spot away from each other with Yelich’s Brewers’ teammate Lorenzo Cain standing in between them during the lineup along the first base line for pregame intros.
After grounding out in his first at-bat, Yelich took home a special memory in his second visit to the plate hitting a 380-foot, opposite field solo home run off Morton in the eighth inning.
“Just sharing these whole few days with him was awesome,” Realmuto said. “Seeing him hit that home run was the cherry on top. That’s the kind of hitter he is so it was fun to watch.”
The AL won for the 24th time in the past 31 All-Star Games. It was the first time the game was held in Washington, D.C. since 1969 and for the fifth time ever.
Manny Machado, a star at Brito Miami Private School, went 0 for 2 in what was likely his last appearance in a Baltimore Orioles uniform as a highly-rumored trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers appeared imminent as of early Wednesday morning.
Red Sox outfielder J.D. Martinez, a Pembroke Pines Flanagan High alum, recorded the game’s first hit off Scherzer with a two-out single in the first inning that put runners on the corners for the AL. Cleveland Indians’ third baseman Jose Ramirez popped up to end the threat.
Miami Southridge High alum Yan Gomes, who also played college baseball at Barry University, became the first Brazilian player to appear in an All-Star Game with his at-bat in the seventh inning.