1995 Game Recap: Baerga Shines in All-Star Defeat—NL All-Stars 3, AL All-Stars 2

Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today looks back July 11, 1995.

After so many seasons of sending one player to the Midsummer Classic just because every team had to send somebody, the Cleveland Indians were more than just a little represented in Arlington on Tuesday night.

The Indians sent six players to the 66th All-Star Game, including three starters. Clevelanders occupied the first, second and fifth spots in the American League’s batting lineup and the Tribe did not disappoint, despite the National League’s 3-2 victory.

Starting second baseman Carlos Baerga led the charge for the American League by going 3-3 with a double and a run scored, but Baerga was not the Tribe’s lone star in the Lone Star State. After coming off the bench to pinch hit in the seventh inning, Manny Ramirez was able to work two walks before the game ended. Starting pitcher Dennis Martinez worked two relief innings allowing just one run and closer Jose Mesa needed just seven pitches to work his scoreless inning. Albert Belle and Kenny Lofton also started the game for the AL in left and centerfield, although the dynamic duo tallied a combined 0-6 mark against the NL’s best.

After Lofton started the bottom of the first with a strikeout, Baerga notched the game’s first hit off of Dodgers rookie Hideo Nomo immediately following. The single remained the game’s only hit until the bottom of the fourth, when Baerga struck again for another base hit off of Reds lefty John Smiley. Minutes later, Baerga touched home on a two-run homer from the White Sox’s Frank Thomas as the AL took a 2-0 lead.

Martinez took over for the AL on the mound in the top of the fifth, after Mariners ace Randy Johnson and Royals starter Kevin Appier both worked two hitless frames. Martinez quickly and quietly worked through a 1-2-3 fifth and then set down the first two batters that he faced in the sixth. The 5.2 hitless innings to start the game broke a 34-year old record for an All-Star team, but the Astros’ Craig Biggio immediately broke that streak by slamming a 1-1 Martinez curveball 380 feet into the leftfield mezzanine seats and cut the AL lead to 2-1 in the process.

The National League continued their solo homerun barrage after that, as the Dodgers’ Mike Piazza tied game off of the Rangers’ Kenny Rogers with a solo shot in the seventh and the Marlins’ Jeff Conine did the same to the A’s Steve Ontiveros in the eighth. Conine was named the contest’s MVP for his game-deciding blast.

The American League’s best chance to score after Thomas’ blast had come in the bottom of the sixth, when Baerga—who else?—grounded a double just inside the first base bag to lead off the inning. Blue Jays second baseman Roberto Alomar pinch ran for Baerga and stole third, but Edgar Martinez, Mo Vaughn and Belle were retired in order by the Pirates Denny Neagle to end the threat.

Baerga’s three-hit night was the first for an AL player since his Cleveland teammate Dave Winfield did so at Comisky Park in Chicago in 1983. The appearance was Baerga’s third in an All-Star Game—the same number as Belle. Martinez was selected to his fourth and Lofton his second, while both Ramirez and Mesa appeared in their first. In what were nearly game-changers, both Lofton and Ramirez narrowly missed hitting homeruns in the ballgame, as Lofton hooked one just feet foul in the first inning and Ramirez did the same in the ninth.

The Indians hold baseball’s best record entering the second half and will restart their drive toward their first postseason appearance in 41 years on Thursday after an off-day on Wednesday. The first place Indians will welcome the Oakland A’s to town for four games, as the Athletics currently sit in third place in the AL West.

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