Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Last fall, the Houston Astros won its first World Series, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic.

A few months later, in a different venue, Houston hitters are still getting the best of Dodgers pitchers.

Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer hit homers off Dodgers hurler Ross Stripling in the top of the 10th inning to break a tie and the American League held on to win 8-6 in a slugfest over the National League in the MLB All-Star Game

The game was played at Nationals Park before 43,843 fans.

“Just an incredible two years here,” Bregman said of the Astros. “It has been a blast. Great players on both sides. This is really special.”

It was the first MLB All-Star Game in the nation’s capital since 1969. The game featured a record 10 homers and also had 25 strikeouts.

“Standard operation nowadays,” Houston and AL manager A.J. Hinch said.

Bregman took part in the Home Run Derby on Monday that was won by hometown star Bryce Harper of the Nationals in dramatic fashion, sending the home fans into a frenzy.

“He never ceases to amaze me,” Hinch said Bregman. “He obviously enjoys the moment.”

The Astros hitters and the American League spoiled the night for the host National League, as Washington pitcher Max Scherzer started and allowed one homer in two innings while Harper fanned in both of his at-bats.

Bregman, on the field after the game, picked a nice sports car over a pickup truck for his MVP honors.

“We try to beat up on each other during the season a lot, just being able to get to know the guys, hanging out with them, picking their brains, it was a cool experience,” said Atlanta outfielder Nick Markakis, a starter for the National League. “You’re with the best baseball players in the world and I tried to take advantage of that. It’s been a fun couple of days and something I’ll never forget.”

There were eight homers in the Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park.

And the excitement continued Tuesday with the major leaguers.

“Guys were jumping out of the dugout like it was our team,” Hinch said of a homer hit by Jean Segura of the Brewers and the American League. “I had the least amount of pressure on me. I was just blown away by just the sheer ability. We had some of the best display of what our sport is about.”

American League shortstop Manny Machado, most likely headed to the Dodgers from Baltimore, took a photo before the game with him and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.

But once again the Dodgers — when facing Houston — came up short.

Bregman’s father grew up in the D.C. area and once took a photo with Ted Williams, the former manager of the Washington Senators.

“Was trying to put a line drive in play. It left the yard. It was crazy. My dad is from here. It was really special,” said Bregman, in his first All-Star Game. “It was pretty cool to see back-to-back homers.”

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.