07/16/2003 3:08 AM ET
Shiggy struggles, Moyer fine
Performances differ, but pitchers share good time
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The American League's comeback Tuesday night put a smile on the faces of its players and fans -- along with laughter in the voice of Shigetoshi Hasegawa.
Hasegawa appeared destined to be the losing pitcher in the 74th All-Star Game after he was charged with four fifth-inning runs. It was thus possible to envision an October in which vindictive souls would blame Hasegawa for the National League representative's home-field advantage in the World Series.
But home runs by Garret Anderson, Jason Giambi and Hank Blalock rescued the AL from its 5-1 deficit, generated a 7-6 victory and gave Hasegawa a giddy peace of mind.
"I knew we were going to come back. I can (say that) now, right?" a giggling Hasegawa said.
Though Hasegawa allowed the National League as many runs in two-thirds of an inning as he had surrendered all season in 46 2/3 innings, he seemed to enjoy making himself the butt of his jokes.
"Maybe next All-Star break I can play golf," Hasegawa said. "That's better. Take three days off."
Asked if he worried about being the man who would shape the course of this year's World Series, Hasegawa admitted, "I was thinking about it a little bit. Before the game, I was thinking this is a pretty serious game, so we've got to win, and then I give it up -- that's nice." As Hasegawa finished speaking, his speech dissolved into cackling.
Hasegawa attributed his difficulties to throwing too hard, which robbed his sinking fastball of its downward movement. He walked Atlanta's Gary Sheffield to open the fifth before Colorado's Todd Helton belted a first-pitch homer. "I wanted to throw a two-seamer with a little sink," Hasegawa said. "But it didn't sink."
Scott Rolen followed Helton's homer with a single. Two outs later, Rafael Furcal also singled, finishing Hasegawa. In came Minnesota's Eddie Guardado, who surrendered Andruw Jones' two-run double.
This rough outing failed to spoil Hasegawa's first All-Star experience. "I had a good time and I had fun," he said.
So did the other Mariners pitcher at U.S. Cellular Field, Jamie Moyer. The 40-year-old left-hander enjoyed a successful All-Star debut, pitching a scoreless fourth inning.
Moyer, a starter for most of his Major League career, managed to overcome the awkwardness of working in relief.
"I was a little shaky doing things that I normally don't do in the bullpen," he said. "That gate opened and I felt like a bull in a china shop. I'm not that style of pitcher. I can't go out there and try to throw 90, 95 (mph). I really had to try to maintain my focus."
Moyer also survived the challenge of facing two of the NL's most formidable hitters, St. Louis' Albert Pujols and San Francisco's Barry Bonds.
After striking out the first hitter he faced, St. Louis' Jim Edmonds, Moyer benefited from an acrobatic catch by right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, his Mariners teammate, on Pujols' line drive.
"When (Pujols) hit the ball, I thought, I don't know if (Suzuki) has a chance," Moyer said. "I really couldn't tell how the ball was carrying tonight. In batting practice it seemed like some balls were taking off and some balls were dying. I've been here when balls in the gap sometimes take off toward center field. But he stayed with it. He has great speed and he knows how to play the outfield. He made a great catch."
Continued Moyer, "I was thinking, 'Wow, this is good.' But now I have to bear down. I'm facing the home run king."
Bonds nearly lived up to his billing, propelling a drive to deep center field. But Hideki Matsui of the Yankees settled under it in front of the wall. "I was able to get (the pitch) in just enough to where (Bonds) couldn't get extended," Moyer said.
That helped send Moyer back to the regular season in a positive frame of mind.
"It was a blast," he said of his All-Star stint. "Very exhausting and tiring, but it was exciting."
Chris Haftis a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.