By Chris Scheitinger
SALT LAKE CITY — The International League All-Stars were victorious for the third straight year as the 2011 Triple-A All-Star Game took center stage at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Durham Bulls infielder Russ Canzler hit a 3-run home run over the right field wall in the second inning to secure the 3-0 victory for the IL All-Stars. The 25-year-old Tampa Bay prospect has 53 RBIs and 10 home runs during his first season in Triple-A baseball and was excited to be the hero during his first All-Star game.
“I was in a position coming up to bat with runners in scoring position, and I was a little nervous … but I just tried to remind myself to stay aggressive,” Canzler said. “That’s what we came out for, to have fun and to play hard, and I was fortunate enough to get a good pitch to hit.”
The IL pitchers stole the show holding the Pacific Coast League All-Stars to just three hits. Cleveland Indians prospect Zach McAllister led the way striking out two and allowing one hit over the first two innings. He was aggressive on the mound getting ahead in the pitching count and registered the win for the IL All-Stars.
“I expected to see a lot more offense tonight, but it was a well-played game. Our pitching staff did a great job starting with Zach … and going down the bullpen,” IL manager Mike Sarbaugh said. “It was just a good overall effort. It was a well-pitched game.”
IL pitcher Shane Lindsay struggled from the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning throwing a wild pitch and allowing two walks before being pulled. With the bases loaded, Minnesota Twins prospect Chuck James struck out infielder Tony Abreu swinging to end the seventh inning and kept the IL shutout intact.
Toronto Blue Jays prospect Brad Mills registered the loss for the PCL All-Stars giving up the only runs of the game. Both teams showed poise from the mound after the second inning as IL and PCL pitchers combined to throw seven straight scoreless innings to close the game. The All-Star game featured 19 different pitchers and gave both batters and pitchers opportunities to face off against unfamiliar opponents.
“You assume that in an All-Star game pitching is going to dominate. You have good pitching out there and you don’t know the guys and you only have to throw one inning,” PCL pitcher Dana Eveland. “You throw everything at them and try not to hold anything back. It makes it a little easier knowing I have one inning [and] I can just let it rip.”
Salt Lake Bees’ third baseman Jeff Baisley had a disappointing evening in front of the hometown fans when he registered a fielding error and was 0-2 at the plate. Baisley acknowledged he had never before faced either pitchers in his two at bats during his seven year career.
PCL Manager Lorenzo Bundy thought his team would be able to overcome the early home run with the high powered batters in his lineup, but the IL bullpen was too much for his team to handle.
“The All-Star pitching took over tonight. Their pitching did a great job,” Bundy said. “We had a couple opportunities after they walked some people, but we couldn’t come up with a big hit. You’ve got to give the IL a lot of credit for pulling this one out.”