The All-Star Game festivities officially kicked off on Sunday (okay, I know the Fan Fest is already underway) with the Futures Game, as the game’s top minor league players from the US faced the top the World has to offer.
The game started with a distinct KC Royals flare, and not just because the Royals and Kauffman Stadium play host.
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi started for the US team (his locker is Billy Butler’s at Kauffman Stadium). He threw just two pitches to get Jean Segura of the LA Angels to fly out, but Texas’ Jurickso Profar tagged him for a homerun to give the World a 1-0 lead. Odorizzi recovered to retire the next two, including a strikeout of Alfredo Marte (Arizona) to end the inning.
Here’s Odorizzi‘s line: 1IP, H, R, 0BB, K. He threw 14 pitches, ten for strikes.
Right-hander Yordano Ventura then strolled to the mound for the World team in the bottom of the first inning. He had a quick and uneventful inning. Ventura induced three ground outs and threw just 11 pitches, eight for strikes.
Here’s Ventura‘s line: 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K. He is headed to Double-A after the game. It was weird seeing him with his pant legs down to his shoe tops (all Royals minor leaguers must have their socks showing to about their knees). Ventura had the only 1-2-3 inning for the World until the 8th inning.
The cool thing about that bottom of the first inning? Ventura facing the third-place hitter, right fielder Wil Myers. Myers saw just three pitches from his organizational counterpart and almost beat out the ground ball to short.
Every Royals player received a nice ovation. Myers‘ may have been the loudest, as many fans were on their feet for his first at-bat. Kauffman Stadium was PACKED for the game (which was nice to see).
Myers came up again in the bottom of the 3rd inning with one out and the tying run on third base. He took a big hack on 3-0 and on 3-1 he grounded out to second base to tie the game. He took Odorizzi off the hook for the loss (it also took away the win for Ventura).
Myers then moved to centerfield in the top of the 5th inning. In the bottom of that inning, he singled to right field with one out off Enny Romero (TB). He was left stranded.
In the 6th inning, Myers flied out to centerfield, driving in his second run of the game. In that at-bat, he fouled a ball straight back that shattered the ESPN camera.
In the 7th inning, Myers singled to left field, driving in another run. He finally scored a run with two outs.
Jae-Hoon Ha (Chicago Cubs) hit a two-run homerun off Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh) in the 2nd inning to give the World a 3-0 lead. Billy Hamilton (Cincinnati) showed off his speed with a two-run triple in the bottom of the 3rd inning off Chris Reed (LA Dodgers) to cut the World lead to 4-2. He has 100 steals so far this season in the minors. Hamilton then scored on Reed’s errant throw to first base on Kolten Wong‘s (St. Louis) comebacker.
The US took their first lead of the game on a Tommy Joseph (SF) RBI double in the 4th inning. Another run scored on the poor throw in from the outfield (missed the cutoff).
The US really took it to the World in the 6th inning, as they scored NINE runs to blow the game wide open (against two pitchers). Detroit prospect Nick Castellanos hit a three-run homerun to dead-center.
Everybody played and everybody pitched who made the trip to KC. Matt Barnes (Boston) closed out the 17-5 victory for the US with former UConn teammate Mike Olt (Texas) at first base.