Braves’ Miller stays in pen as AL wins All-Star game

With 14 active pitchers and the All-Star game actually counting for something, there’s a chance not all of the arms will make it out of the bullpen.

That’s what happened to Braves right-hander Shelby Miller on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park. Miller, the only Braves representative, didn’t make an appearance for the National League as the American League won 6-3.

Miller was one of six NL pitchers who never took the mound but he said he wasn’t disappointed with not playing in his first All-Star game.

“Not at all,” Miller said. “If I got in there, cool (and) if not, cool. There’s obviously a lot of great arms here and guys wanting to get in there and pitch. If I happened to not get in there, it wasn’t a big deal to me.”

Miller last pitched Friday at Colorado and is tentatively scheduled to start against the Cubs on Sunday at Turner Field. He said he would probably throw on Thursday in preparation for his next start.

“I think rest is a good thing,” Miller said.

The stakes increased for the All-Star game when MLB and players decided in 2003 that the winning league would earn home-field advantage in the World Series. The change came after the 2002 All-Star game in Milwaukee infamously ended in a tie after 11 innings because the teams ran out of substitutes available to pitch.

The change means All-Star managers can’t use all of their pitchers, especially when the game is close in the later innings like on Tuesday.

“We were saving our starters in case we went extra innings,” NL manager Bruce Bochy said.

The Royals lost the deciding game of the 2014 World Series on their home field but, in manager Ned Yost’s view, they still had an advantage playing it there. That’s why Yost, the AL All-Star manager, said he was motivated to win.

It could be that Yost helped his club with the AL’s victory. The Royals, with the best record in the AL before the All-Star break, look like pennant contenders again.

The AL has won 10 of 13 All-Star games since home-field advantage has been the prize. The AL won the first seven games under the new format, the NL won the next three, and now the AL is on a three-game winning streak. There have been two World Series to go to seven games since 2003 and the home teams were 1-1.

The All-Star pregame festivities included Pete Rose, who appeared alongside fellow Reds legends Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin. Rose, a Cincinnati native, is banned from baseball for gambling but was allowed to participate by commissioner Rob Manfred.

Another ceremony included Braves legend Hank Aaron. He was introduced along with Willie Mays, Johnny Bench and Sandy Koufax as the greatest living players as determined by fans in an online poll.

Aaron, 81, was an All-Star for 21 of his 23 seasons in the majors, including all nine years he played in Atlanta. He played in a record 25 All-Star games (there were two games from 1959-1962), one more than Mays and Stan Musial.

Koufax threw the ceremonial first pitch to Bench.

“That was definitely cool to see those four guys,” Miller said. “That’s one of the coolest first pitches you will probably ever see. The introduction and the whole thing was first-class.”

Once the festivities ended, the American League wasted little time taking the lead and quieting the crowd of 43,656 that was partial to the NL’s Reds.

Mike Trout led off the game with an opposite-field home run against Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke. It was the first home run to lead off an All-Star game since Morgan did it in 1977 and the third time overall.

Trout went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and was voted the All-Star game MVP for the second consecutive year. He’s the first player to win it twice in a row and the fifth to win it more than once. Trout also is the reigning American League MVP.

“He’ s just special,” Yost said. “He can do anything that anybody can do on a baseball field. He can hit with power. He can run, he can drive the gap. He’s a great defender. When you look at Mike, you don’t look at a 23-year old. You look at a guy that is one of the best baseball players in the planet.”

After Trout’s homer, the NL tied the game in the second inning but the AL went ahead for good with two runs against Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw in the fifth inning.

After Trout reached base on a fielder’s choice and Albert Pujols walked, Prince Fielder knocked an RBI single for a 2-1 lead. Lorenzo Cain followed with a run-scoring double.

Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen led off the sixth inning with a homer against Rays right-hander Chris Archer to cut the NL’s deficit to 3-2. Zach Britton replaced Archer and threw wildly to first base to allow Paul Goldschmidt to reach, then gave up a single to Buster Posey before Troy Tulowitzki grounded out.

The AL added two runs in the seventh inning and another in the eighth.