MIDSUMMER CLASSIC

Former Astros great reflects on his first All-Star Game

Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images.

As everyone knows by now, the MLB All-Star Game has been canceled. It was to be the first Mid-Summer Classic to take place at Dodger Stadium since 1980. The L.A. based Fox production crew was certain to relish the opportunity to produce the action, merely cutting over unto the 110 freeway nearby. The storylines were to be rich, especially with our Astros returning to fertile ground where they claimed the 2017 World Series crown. The reaction from the capacity crowd was sure to be a storyline when members of H-Town appeared between the lines. We'll now have to wait to see the Dodger Stadium backdrop on September 12th & 13th, during a brief two-game series during the Astros upcoming regular season.

On Tuesday, I had an opportunity to speak to former pitcher, manager & broadcaster, Larry Dierker. We started going down memory lane with past All-Star Games in the air. His first ASG appearance occurred a mere three days after Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.

SportsMap: What do you remember about your first All-Star Game?

Larry Dierker: That day (July 23rd, 1969) we got to visit the White House and meet Richard Nixon. He knew a lot about the game. He even knew the standings, the starting lineups, and all about the individual players.

SM: What was the atmosphere like inside R.F.K. Stadium?

LD: Well, prior to the game, Willie Mays hit 10-straight homers in a row during batting practice. The standing ovation went for over 5 minutes. By the time (Steve) Carlton took the mound for us, it had already been a special night.

SM: What about the actual game? What stood out for you?

LD: I came in during the 8th inning. I gave up a jam shot single to Boog Powell and then retired Reggie Smith on a pop up. We had the contest in hand, and then we won 9-3.


In all probability, the Dodgers will capture the 2022 ASG bid. No harm, no foul. And for the baseball enthusiast longing for MLB contests, the countdown is on!

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Houston has lost seven of eight

Mariners ride big fifth inning to series win over Astros

Jake Odorizzi earned his second loss as an Astro Sunday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

With the losing streak behind them by taking the middle game on Saturday night, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Sunday afternoon to try and make it back-to-back victories to take the series. Instead, they'd suffer their seventh loss in the last eight games.

Final Score: Mariners 7, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 7-8, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ljay Newsome (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-2)

Odorizzi locks in through four while Houston grabs a lead

Jake Odorizzi did not start his afternoon the way he needed to in order to have a good rebound outing compared to his first start. In the 37-pitch first inning, he issued two walks and an RBI-single, putting the Mariners at a significant advantage early. Odorizzi flipped the switch, though, finding a rhythm to retire the next ten batters after that RBI-single to get through four innings with just one run allowed.

Offensively for Houston, they quickly responded to Seattle's run in the first with one of their own in the top of the second, capitalizing on some shoddy defense by Seattle to get Carlos Correa to second to set up an RBI ground-rule double by Aledmys Diaz, tying things up 1-1. It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when a leadoff walk by Chas McCormick would turn into a run after a stolen base and two sacrifice flys to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

Mariners explode for four in the fifth

The lead was short-lived, as Seattle would explode in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff single and one-out walk to set up a two-RBI triple by Mitch Haniger to go ahead 3-2. That would prompt Dusty Baker out of the dugout to end Odorizzi's day and move on to Brooks Raley. Raley would not fare any better, giving up a two-run homer to Ty France to extend Seattle's new lead to 5-2. He would finish the inning, putting Odorizzi's line final: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 89 P.

Seattle takes the series

Seattle would strike again in the bottom of the seventh against Joe Smith. After a leadoff walk, the Mariners would get back-to-back one-out RBI-doubles to extend their lead to 7-2. After Smith in the seventh, Peter Solomon would make his major-league debut in the bottom of the eighth and work around a one-out walk for a scoreless inning. Houston would then come up empty in the top of the ninth, dropping the finale and the series to Seattle.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Denver tonight and get an off day tomorrow. Tuesday night, they'll start a quick two-game set with the Rockies at 7:40 PM Central. Houston currently has Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 5.27 ERA) penciled in as their starter, but with ongoing illness, he has not yet been fully confirmed. For the Rockies, Jon Gray (1-1, 2.87 ERA) is expected to start.

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