MINNEAPOLIS -- The all-Jeter-all-the-time All-Star Game started off the way it was supposed to Tuesday night when Derek Jeter dove to his left for a shot off Andrew McCutchen's bat, righted himself and rifled a throw to first.
The fact McCutchen legged out an infield hit made no difference.
The retiring Yankees' uniform was dirty and the Target Field lovefest officially had begun.
The American League wound up with a 5-3 victory before a crowd of 41,048 in one of the more entertaining All-Star Games in recent memory.
Angels star Mike Trout was named the Most Valuable Player, going 2-for-3 with a double, triple and two RBIs.
Trout said Jeter spoke to his AL teammates before the game, just to say thanks.
"We should be thanking him," Trout said. "What he brings to the game. And he just tells us it goes by quick and for us to enjoy every moment of this, with being together with the best in the league."
Jeter wound up 2-for-2 with a run scored before being removed after taking the field in the fourth. White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez replaced Jeter and gave him a big hug, igniting another crescendo of applause, the doffing of the cap, more dugout love and a curtain call as a recording of Frank Sinatra singing "New York, New York" blared over the p.a. system.
"I wasn't expecting it, but the manager came up to me and told me I was going to go into the game in the fourth inning," Ramirez said. "It's such a great honor to have that moment, such an American baseball legend. I was nervous when I was told to go out there and take the place of a baseball legend. I had to take off my hat and show my respect. It was a great moment."
It was a fitting farewell to the face of baseball, a Hall of Famer-in-waiting who will be difficult to replace after 20 seasons.
"I'll miss all of it," Jeter said. "I'm pretty sure I will. I've been doing this since I've been, what, 5 years old and playing baseball. And when I finish I won't be doing it, so I'm sure I'll miss the competition, but the time has come. This is the end of the road for me."
After a taped introduction from late Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard, Jeter received a long and loud standing ovation, from players and fans alike, before his first at-bat leading off the first. He promptly doubled to right on Adam Wainwright's first pitch, a 90 mph fastball. Mike Trout followed with an RBI triple and Miguel Cabrera lined a two-run homer to give the AL a quick 3-0 lead.
But Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester was rocked in the top of the second, giving up back-to-back RBI doubles to Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy. After Jeter's farewell, the NL tied the game in the fourth on a two-out walk from Chris Sale and Lucroy's second RBI double.
With two on and one out in the fifth, the AL went back in front on Trout's run-scoring double past Aramis Ramirez off Pat Neshek, and added another run on Jose Altuve's sacrifice fly off Tyler Clippard.
Jeter was able to enjoy the final six innings, and even gave Trout some grief over coming out of the game.
"He said he wanted me to play nine innings," Trout said with a laugh. "He said I'm 22 years old coming out of the game, it's the sixth inning. I should be playing nine. He is messing around with me. It's all fun. It's special for me. Chills, goose bumps, you name it. Everything was running through my body."
So the Jeter Farewell Tour goes on, and it's only going to gather steam as the Yankees head down the stretch. He got the perfect send-off on Tuesday, and now it's up to Jeter to deal with the hoopla the rest of the year.
"I'll try not to mess it up the next couple of months," he said.
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