A's show strength in numbers at All-Star Game
All six Oakland players see action; Norris singles, scores go-ahead run
MINNEAPOLIS -- The winning American League All-Star club was largely populated by A's players who are currently favored to be in this season's World Series. This wasn't lost on them.
"Hopefully in several months we can look back and talk about how we were able to give ourselves home-field advantage," said Sean Doolittle, following the AL's 5-3 win on Tuesday night. "A lot can happen between now and then, of course, but we know what the goal is.
"It's good knowing we had somewhat of a part in it. [Mike] Trout and [Miguel] Cabrera helped, too, which is weird to say."
Trout went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs on an MVP Award-winning night, and Cabrera chipped in with a first-inning two-run homer.
But the A's took over the field.
Six members of baseball's best team appeared in Tuesday night's affair, matching the most in franchise history, with a seventh player -- Jeff Samardzija -- watching from the dugout. Twice the A's had as many as four players on the field at the same time.
"To be able to have that many guys on the field with the same jersey on," said Derek Norris, "it's something special."
Norris singled off former teammate Pat Neshek in his first career All-Star at-bat in the fifth and later scored the go-ahead run, becoming the first A's player to notch a hit in the Midsummer Classic since Miguel Tejada in 2002. But even that memory, he said, doesn't compare to being able to catch teammates Doolittle and Scott Kazmir on such a stage.
Kazmir, making his third career All-Star appearance but first since 2008, compiled the first two outs of the sixth inning. Doolittle did the same in the eighth, fanning two of his three batters.
Both pitchers were accompanied by Yoenis Cespedes in left field and Brandon Moss in right.
"That didn't even sink in until I came in," said Doolittle. "I know I passed Cespy as I was running in from the bullpen, and Norris was waiting for me when I picked the ball up. But then coming out of the game and being on the top step giving everyone high fives at the end of the inning, that's when it hit me it was just a bunch of A's guys coming through.
"That was really cool. I think that was one of the most rewarding parts about these guys, being able to share it with them."
Third baseman Josh Donaldson was the lone starter, going hitless in two at-bats while logging six innings -- including three next to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who tallied two hits in his final All-Star Game in advance of his retirement.
"He's been so influential throughout the game of baseball," said Donaldson, "and for my first All-Star Game, to be beside him for his last, I can't say I even dreamed of it, because as a kid, Jeter is on this huge platform, and it's something you're trying to get to but don't actually think you will."
"It's a privilege to be out there with one of the greatest players to have ever played the game in his last All-Star Game," said Norris. "I'll definitely remember this for a very long time."
Doolittle had his own pinch-me moment with Jeter in the ninth inning, standing next to the future Hall of Famer on the top step of the AL dugout in the game's final moments.
"I talked to him a little bit," he said, "but just to be there in the dugout next to him in his last All-Star Game, his last go-around, I got goose bumps. I was like, 'This is nuts.'"
Added Moss: "It was an All-Star Game, but it was Derek Jeter's last All-Star Game, and that was very special to be a part of."
Moss struck out swinging against Craig Kimbrel in his only at-bat, while Cespedes went hitless in his two plate appearances, less than 24 hours after being crowned the Home Run Derby champion for a second straight year.
"Before my at-bat," Moss said, "I was wondering if I was actually going to swing as hard as I could, and after my at-bat, I was wondering why I didn't even tip a pitch. In the field, I was just trying to focus on not missing the ball if it came to me, and not throwing the ball in the stands if I had to throw it.
"That's about how my night went."
Doolittle's already ready to re-live it.
"That was right up there with my debut [and] first time pitching in the playoffs," he said. "It was an awesome rush. I'm probably going to have to go back and watch it, so I actually remember what happened."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.