Willis has fun despite rough outing
Lefty allows two-run homer to Teixeira in sixth inning
DETROIT -- Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis was one of the best pitchers in the National League during the first half of the 2005 season, going 13-4 with a 2.39 ERA.
But Willis was puzzled as to why a reporter would ask him if he was upset that he didn't get the stating nod for the National League in the 2005 All-Star Game. Chris Carpenter received the nod instead.
"I don't see how people could ask that question," Willis said. "We are very fortunate. We are considered the best players in the league. We are very fortunate to come out here to showcase our talent."
Willis, along with teammates Miguel Cabrera, Luis Castillo and Paul Lo Duca, showcased their talents on Tuesday as the American League defeated the National League, 7-5, at Comerica Park.
Willis entered the game in the sixth and gave up two runs in one inning on a two-run home run by Mark Teixeira.
The appearance was Willis' first in an All-Star Game. He was on the National League squad in 2003, but didn't play in the game.
Castillo went 1-for-2 with a run scored. He also made a spectacular play in the fifth inning. With Roger Clemens on the mound, Angels outfielder Garrett Anderson hit a sharp groundball, which Castillo was able to spear and throw out Anderson for the first out of the inning.
"I saw the ball and I grabbed it. He hit the ball hard and I made a good play," Castillo said.
Cabrera and Lo Duca didn't have much of an impact on the game as they went a combined 0-for-4 with an RBI. Cabrera grounded into a force out to bring home Moises Alou for the third run of the game in the eighth inning.
It was Cabrera's second All-Star Game, and he is still looking for his first hit in the Midsummer Classic.
"I have a lot of experience here. I know a lot of things. I hope I can be here every year."
For Lo Duca, his highlight was catching Clemens for the first time in his career. According to Lo Duca, Clemens said he did a good job behind the plate.
"He told me what he wanted to do on the mound and I asked him where he wanted me to set up. He told me good job. It's always neat to catch somebody like that," Lo Duca said. "I can tell my children that I caught the greatest pitcher I ever had to face."
For Willis, the highlight of the All-Star festivities was hanging out with his high school buddy, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. The two went to high school together at Encinal in Alameda, Calif., with Willis following Rollins around.
"I have nothing but good things to say about Jimmy. He is very competitive." Willis said. "I was running behind him when we were younger, so it's definitely a small world. We are fortunate and blessed to be here."
The day of the All-Star Game, Willis signed a hat for Rollins that read, "We have come a long way from Oakland."
"We were hanging out with each other all day yesterday, because we don't get a chance to mess with each other because we are a division rivals," Willis said.
Rollins jokingly said that Willis' mother, Joyce, didn't want Dontrelle to hang out with him any more because Dontrelle was acting crazy during their time together.
"I told her, 'I didn't make him crazy.' I told her, 'I think he got that from you, Ms. Joyce.' She is a funny character."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.