Jul 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; American League first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays (27) poses for a photo as he kisses the 2021 MLB All Star Game MVP award after their 5-2 win over the National League in the 2021 MLB All Star Game at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The All-Star Game didn’t end in an avalanche of runs scored like the previous time it came through Denver, though the thin air of Coors Field did help us get a few extra feet of home runs, notably from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays. The American League side, winners for the eighth straight time, also got better pitching, with Shohei Ohtani picking up the victory (also going 0 for 2 as the DH in an unprecedented juxtaposition). Liam Hendrix added the save and the AL also got scoreless appearances (and holds!) from Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Kittredge and Matt Barnes. The AL side also made the defensive play of the game. Here are the nine top moments from the 2021 All-Star Game.

1. Walsh’s diving catch saves the day

Kris Bryant came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning and almost came through with the biggest hit in the All-Star Game. Instead, Angels outfielder Jared Walsh made the biggest play of the day, a sliding catch in left field for the third out that shut down the National League’s scoring threat. Watch Bryant swing on 3-0 against Barnes of the Red Sox:

If he doesn’t catch the ball, runners Justin Turner, Juan Soto and Eduardo Escobar certainly come around to tie the score, and even Bryant has a chance to motor around for what would have been the second grand slam in All-Star history, and the first one coming inside the park. By the way: this was Walsh’s first time in left field in the major leagues.

2. Vladito takes Corbin Burnes DEEP

At 22 years old, Guerrero is the best young hitter in baseball, an ideal combination of power and selectivity. And he’s already a legend. With the AL ahead by a run in the third inning, Guerrero obliterated a pitch by Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes an estimated 468 feet to left field for a home run. Vladito now hangs with Johnny Bench in All-Star history.

Watch the little shimmy he does as he leaves the batter’s box.

Stylin’. The best parts were the reactions from Burnes and San Diego’s Fernando Tatís, who both knew and maybe wish they didn’t:

Corbin Burnes and Fernando Tatis Jr. react to Vladimir Guerrero's homer.

Corbin Burnes and Fernando Tatis Jr. react to Vladimir Guerrero's homer.

Guerrero later added another RBI and won the Ted Williams Trophy as the All-Star Game’s most valuable player. Before we move on, watch his home run called in Spanish:

3. MLB honors Henry Aaron and his wife

With the game originally scheduled to be played outside of Atlanta at the Braves home field before being moved, MLB was ready to honor Henry Aaron, who died in January at age 86. His widow, Billye Aaron was on hand, and players paid tribute to her and the man who broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record in 1974. Freddie Freeman of the Braves and Aaron Judge of the Yankees walked her to the field for a presentation.

Freeman can be overheard telling Aaron at one point that he loves her and her late husband. No, you’re crying!

Here’s the full Aaron tribute that FOX played:

4. Shohei gets the W

After participating in the Home Run Derby the night before, Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani led off as the AL’s designated hitter and pitched the first inning as expected. He didn’t get a hit in either of his two at-bats, but his inning as a pitcher was spotless against Tatís, Max Muncy and Nolan Arenado. He also threw really fast.

He also threw really nasty:

5. Hendriks gets the save and the swear

Fox mic’d up White Sox closer Liam Hendriks for the ninth inning because he’s a fun and colorful Australian with a big personality. The inning ended with a ground ball to Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield but it started with Hendriks having some trouble locating and watching his mouth.

If you didn’t catch his drift, he was complaining to himself about not finishing his delivery, doggone it. At a mound meeting with catcher Mike Zunino to get the signs straight, Hendriks brushed off a question about him being wired for sound. “Nah, it’s not working,” Hendriks said. Well, we could hear Hendriks but he couldn’t hear the Fox broadcast. Oh well.

His postgame interview all worked out fine, with Hendriks even making a few poignant observations about how MLB is an international game and how he hoped to inspire more Australians to play here and hoped Ohtani would do the same for Japan.

6. Arenado welcomed back again at Coors

He had already returned with the Cardinals to Coors Field and was warmly greeted by Rockies fans earlier in the season, but Nolan Arenado was happy to do it again at the All-Star Game.

When he got to bat for the first time, Royals catcher Salvador Perez took a short little walk to give another standing ovation time to build. Right-hander German Márquez, a current Rockies player, had a 1-2-3 inning and also got strong ovations.

7. Zunino goes oppo

Not a lot of runs scored in the All-Star Game; it was a 5-2 final, not like the 1998 game that finished 13-8 in favor of the AL. But there were a few good Coors bombs, including an opposite-field job that went 433 feet to right by Tampa Bay catcher Mike Zunino, who was playing in his first All-Star Game at age 30.

And then he explained how being at the game made him feel:

A half-inning earlier, J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies also hit a home run, getting the NL on the board. 

8. Scherzer escapes with his heterochromic eyes intact

Guerrero was the second batter of the game and sent a screaming line drive back through the box at Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, who did the best thing possible and got the heck out of the way. On his way back to the dugout, Guerrero hugged him to apologize.

Not too many All-Star Game hugs on record, although there was the time Barry Bonds hugged Torii Hunter after his home-run erasing catch in 2002. 

As for the more recent play, Scherzer was just glad his unusual eyes still continue to see.

9. Kittredge flees Magic Kingdom

Rays right-hander Andrew Kittredge was enjoying the All-Star break with his wife at Walt Disney World in Florida — they were having dinner at the Rainforest Cafe on Monday to drop another brand name — when he got a phone call. Get on a plane, because you’re leaving Disney World! And going to the All-Star game. He pitched a perfect seventh inning in his first ASG appearance at age 31.

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