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MLB: AL too strong for NL

MVP Houston Astros Alex Bregman holds the trophy after the 89th MLB baseball All-Star Game, Wednesday, July 18, 2018, at Nationals Park, in Washington. The American League won 8-6. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

MVP Houston Astros Alex Bregman holds the trophy after the 89th MLB baseball All-Star Game, Wednesday, July 18, 2018, at Nationals Park, in Washington. The American League won 8-6. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A record 10 home runs. A slew of strikeouts.

The all-or-nothing All-Star Game mirrored what baseball has become.

Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer homered on consecutive pitches to begin the 10th inning, and the American League beat the National League 8-6 Tuesday night for its sixth straight win.

“Standard operation nowadays, right?” said AL manager A.J. Hinch of Houston. “We’re going to homer and punch out as an industry.”

“There’s a great love affair with both results. I mean, to kind of empty your tank and hit homers tonight at this event is probably the best thing imaginable,” he said. Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Jean Segura also connected for the AL in a game where every run except one scored on a homer.

Scooter Gennett hit a tying two-run shot off Seattle closer Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth. Joey Votto, Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Christian Yelich also went deep for the NL.

There had never been more than six homers in an All-Star Game since Babe Ruth hit the very first one in 1933.
Not that everything went the sluggers’ way. Starters Max Scherzer and Chris Sale and the relievers combined to fan 15 in the first 4 1/2 innings, and there were 25 strikeouts overall.

Fitting, because this season is on pace to become the first with more strikeouts than hits, a year after a record number of home runs.

“You’re facing power pitchers right now, so that’s kind of what you expect: hit-or-miss with these guys,” Boston’s J.D. Martinez said.

Martinez, who leads the majors in homers and RBIs, singled and struck out in his two at-bats.

Orioles shortstop Manny Machado had fun, pulling out a camera to snap a selfie at second base after Matt Kemp doubled. By Wednesday, they could be teammates — Baltimore seems ready to trade Machado, with the Dodgers and Phillies in the mix.

“I’m just trying to enjoy this moment with the American League guys,” Machado told FOX in the dugout. “If this is the last time (in a Baltimore uniform), hopefully I treated them well and did everything I can for the organization.”

Major League Baseball, meanwhile, seemed to take a selfie of itself at this game, with all the homers and strikeouts. This was MLB 2.018, an update that’s not appealing to everyone.

Declining attendance is a concern, and the sport’s owners worry that slower games with less action on the bases are taking a toll.

A day after hometown star Bryce Harper electrified the crowd by winning the Home Run Derby, it was eerily quiet for most of the evening at Nationals Park. Harper didn’t excite the fans, either, fanning in his two at-bats.

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