MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — On a sparkling summer night in the Upper Midwest, baseball generations joined up and prepared to pass.
Derek Jeter, the 40-year-old face of baseball, bid farewell to the All-Star game at the same time 22-year-old Mike Trout became the second-youngest player to earn MVP honors at the showcase.
The 41,048 fans at Target Field buzzed from start to finish. Many no doubt will say years from now they were there when Jeter soaked in the adulation one more time on baseball's national stage, and when Trout showed why he's perhaps the top candidate to become the sport's next iconic player.
Jeter and Trout propelled the American League to a 5-3 victory over the National on Tuesday for its 13th win in 17 years. The night will be remembered for the old and the young rather than the score.
Raised in New Jersey, Trout saw a lot of Jeter and said all week he felt honored to play alongside him.
"Growing up I was setting goals to myself that when I get — if I ever get the chance to get — to the big leagues, that's how I want to play," Trout said. "And the way he carries himself on and off the field, how he respects the game — always hustling, it doesn't matter what the score is. If they are down 10 runs, he is always running the ball out. That's how I want to play."
Jeter made a diving stop on Andrew McCutchen's grounder to shortstop leading off the game and nearly threw him out at first, then received a 63-second standing ovation when he walked to the plate before his opposite-field double to right leading off the bottom half. He was given another rousing cheer before his single to right starting the third made him the oldest All-Star with a multihit game and 2 1/2 minutes more applause after AL manager John Farrell sent Alexei Ramirez to shortstop to replace him at the start of the fourth.
Trout tripled home Jeter in the first and scored on Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer off Adam Wainwright, then gave the AL a 4-3 lead in the fifth with an RBI double against Pat Neshek. Trout, second to Cabrera in AL MVP voting the last two years, is in position for a most unusual All-Star cycle: He singled in the first at-bat of his debut at Kansas City in 2012, doubled leading off last year's game and now tripled.
All he needs is a home run in his first at-bat next year at Cincinnati.
No wonder many expect him to become baseball's top personality.
"I think let Mike be Mike. I don't think people have to necessarily appoint someone to a particular position," Jeter said. "He's got a bright future ahead of him. I don't know how much better he can get, but if he consistently does what he's doing, then he will be here for a long time."