Fly balls become home runs. Bouncers took off

By Ronald Blum Associated Press Published:

Fly balls become home runs. Bouncers took off like rockets.

Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine _ they were mere mortals in the Rocky Mountains' home run heaven.

"This was a different type of All-Star Game," Roberto Alomar said Tuesday night after the American League's record-setting 13-8 victory over the National. "When you watch the scoring in Denver, you're always seeing big numbers, 13 to whatever."

Alomar, matching the feat of his older brother last year, homered and won an All-Star MVP award. Alex Rodriguez also homered as the AL tied the record for runs and hits (19). The two teams set an All-Star record for combined runs and tied the record for hits with 31.

"No lead is ever good in this place," Mark McGwire said. "You have to play it to the last out."

The AL had at least one hit in every inning and overcame deficits of 2-0 in the fourth and 6-5 in the sixth.

The NL trailed 5-3 before Barry Bonds' 451-foot, three-run homer off Bartolo Colon in the fifth, a drive that hit a San Francisco banner hanging off the upper deck in right. The ball just missed (by a yard or so) hitting a sign that would have led to a fan winning $1 million.

"Maybe it's the light air here in Colorado," Cal Ripken said.

McGwire and Ken Griffey Jr. failed to homer, but the crowd of 51,267, a Coors Field record, got to see the type of game the stadium is known for.

Maddux, the four-time Cy Young Award winner who leads the majors with a 1.54 ERA, was hit hard at the start, giving up singles to Kenny Lofton and Alomar.

Maddux managed to escape with two shutout innings, but six of the next seven NL pitchers gave up runs.

Want to know why pitchers hate it here?

Clemens pointed skyward in the third inning, thinking Bonds popped up. Lofton caught the ball on the warning track.

"I was a bit nervous there for a moment," Clemens said.

Alomar and Ivan Rodriguez each went 3-for-4, and 10 players drove in runs for the AL, which cut the NL's All-Star lead to 40-28-1. Rafael Palmeiro's RBI single in the ninth accounted for the 21st run, breaking the record set in the AL's 11-9 win in 1954.

The game nearly turned around in the eighth, when Greg Vaughn's two-run single off Tom Gordon pulled the NL to 10-8. Devon White _ who also had three hits _ followed with another single, but left fielder Paul O'Neill threw out Fernando Vina at the plate, and shortstop Omar Vizquel followed by turning a nifty double play on Andres Galarraga.

Did the light air help O'Neill, a regular right fielder unfamiliar with the other side of the ballpark?

"I'm sure it didn't hurt," he said.

In a fitting twist, Colon was the winner despite giving up Bonds' homer.

"He had to give up a three-run homer to get the win," AL manager Mike Hargrove said. "It's kind of a double-edged sword."

Ugueth Urbina was the loser in a game that lasted 3 hours, 38 minutes _ the longest nine-inning All-Star Game ever.

The big bashers, the ones who have sparked increased interest in baseball this year, did little.

McGwire, leading the majors with 37 homers, was 0-for-2. Juan Gonzalez, leading the majors with 101 RBI, got up with nine runners on base and drove in just one. Griffey, who has 35 homers, was 2-for-3 with an RBI, but showed no power.

"You have some great pitchers on the mound," Griffey said. "When you have great pitchers, the ball doesn't fly much."

It flied for the AL lineup in the sixth, but not necessarily off the bat. A passed ball by Javy Lopez tied the score, a wild pitch by Urbina put the AL ahead for good and Ivan Rodriguez followed with an RBI single.

"It was a Coors Field-type game," NL manager Jim Leyland said. "You saw some balls bloop in, freak hits, guys had to play deep. Then they hit some balls out of the ballpark."

Atlanta shortstop Walt Weiss got two hits and the cheers of his 3-year-old son, Brody, recently out of the hospital after fighting off a life-threatening strain of E. coli bacteria.

"Looks like it's going to be a happy ending," Weiss said. "My boy is going to be fine."

Notes: Ripken broke Willie Mays' record with his 15th straight start,

then hit a two-run double off the top of the 14-foot wall in right that

keyed a four-run fourth off Tom Glavine for a 4-2 lead. ... NL reliever

Jeff Shaw, celebrating his 32nd birthday, pitched the eighth. He was

traded from Cincinnati to Los Angeles on Saturday, making him the first

All-Star ever to be dealt between the time he was selected and the game

itself. He wore a Dodgers uniform for the first time. ... The AL stole a

record five bases. ... Next year's All-Star game will be at Fenway Park

in Boston. ... Barry and Bobby Bonds joined Griffey Jr. and Griffey Sr.

as the only father-son combos to hit homers in All-Star play.

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