MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 14: Koji Uehara of the Boston Red Sox with Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers during the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Target Field on July 14, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
In one of the lightest years for Texas Rangers in the All-Star Game in quite some time, the Rangers sent just two players to the mid-summer classic on Tuesday night in Minneapolis, and both Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre had a hand in the American League's victory, giving some team other than the Rangers home-field advantage in the World Series come October.
In what was the pair's first win since July 5 in New York — let that sink in — they both came into the game as reserves. Darvish entered to pitch the third inning for the AL — a quick 1-2-3 inning including a strikeout of Yasiel Puig, while Beltre entered as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning and saw his only at-bat end in a walk.
The highlight, though, was Darvish, who dazzled hitters and the announcing crew, alike, with his vast array of filth. The biggest moment of Darvish's inning was a ball, as he just missed the zone with a 57-mph "eephus pitch" to Troy Tulowitzki which followed a couple of low-90s fastballs.
Darvish had joked on Monday that he would unveil a new 10-mph pitch that went straight up in the air and came down. That obviously didn't happen, but the 57-mph one was about as crazy. We've seen it a few times this year, but that was the first time the national audience caught a glimpse of it from Darvish, who made his first appearance in his third All-Star Game.
“I felt very honored,” said Darvish, who joked the eephus pitch was his strength as a pitcher. “It ranks right up there. There are many great pitchers and I was able to pitch in the third spot.”
Seattle's Felix Hernandez was named the AL starter, while Boston's Jon Lester pitched the second inning before giving way to Darvish in the third.