PHOENIX -- As C.J. Wilson walked out of the American League clubhouse on his way to a Southern California beach, he had a one-word summation of his initial All-Star experience."Bummer," said Wilson, the losing pitcher in the American League's 5-1 loss to the National League in the 82nd All-Star Game on Tuesday night. The AL led, 1-0, going into the bottom of the fourth, but Wilson gave up a pair of singles, to Carlos Beltran and Matt Kemp. Prince Fielder then sent a 2-2 cutter deep over the fence in left-center for a three-run homer. That ended up being the game-winning blow, and allowed Fielder to take home the Most Valuable Player trophy. "Total failure, giving up a three-run home run in the All-Star Game," Wilson said. "I'm here, though, now it's time to go home to the beach."
Wilson did find one bright spot in the fact that the AL let home-field advantage slip away for the second straight season."Maybe it means I get to hit in the World Series," he said. "Maybe this is an elaborate scheme for me to hit a home run in the World Series." Wilson, who entered in the fourth because manager Ron Washington wanted him to face the big left-handed bats in the NL's lineup, has only allowed three home runs in 399 at-bats to left-handed hitters over the past four years. He said he had trouble getting a grip on the baseball, and left a cut fastball over the plate. "I didn't have a good grip on it," he said. "Instead of gripping and ripping, I was gripping and slipping, and he hit it out. Pitch one inning, one mistake, Prince Fielder ... That's why he was in the Home Run Derby."
For Wilson the home run also reinforced Chase Field's reputation as a place where balls go flying when the roof is closed."The ball travels here," he said. "We saw that last night. It doesn't come down." Wilson did retire the next three hitters, but he became the second Ranger to be the losing pitcher in the All-Star Game, following reliever Jim Kern in 1979. "Of course my heart would have bled for anyone that would have given it up, but that's the way baseball goes," Washington said. "A good hitter got him, and I don't think that's the first one that Prince got. I still consider C.J. one of the top pitchers in the game. It's just in the fourth inning they put a big inning on us, simply because of the good pitching out there; it just shut us down. " Alexi Ogando, the second Rangers pitcher in the game, had a shorter but more successful outing in his first All-Star appearance. He pitched to two batters -- Andrew McCutchen and Joey Votto -- in the eighth, and retired both. Ogando threw six pitches, all of them strikes, and both batters grounded out on 0-2 fastballs clocked at 99 mph. Outfielder Josh Hamilton and third baseman Adrian Beltre both went 1-for-2 with a pair of two-out singles in the fourth, a sequence that almost gave the AL a two-run lead. Adrian Gonzalez had put the AL up, 1-0, with a two-out home run, and Jose Bautista reached on a single when Fielder couldn't catch his high pop down the right-field line. Hamilton's single to center moved Bautista to second, then Beltre followed with a line-drive single to left. Third-base coach Dave Anderson sent Bautista home with two outs, but left fielder Hunter Pence cut him down trying to score. "I thought I had an RBI, but Pence decided otherwise," Beltre said. That was the AL's best rally, as it finished with just six hits on the night.
Hamilton has now hit safely in four straight All-Star Games, with four singles in 11 at-bats."It stinks that we lost, but that's why you play the game," Hamilton said. "It was fun. I hope fans enjoyed the game. I'm ready to get back to reality tomorrow." All five Rangers played. Michael Young, selected for the seventh time and appearing in his sixth All-Star Game, played third base late and struck out in his only at-bat. Young, who did not get into the game in 2007, is now 4-for-13 in the Midsummer Classic. This was also the first time he has been on the losing side. He was not selected for last year's game but was on the squad six times during the AL's seven-game winning streak from 2003 to 2009. "I thought about that," Young said. "Fielder had a big three-run home run, and we didn't get much going offensively. They got us really good this time."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.