Halfway through the season, baseball fans in Pittsburgh should be used to disappointment. But even Pirates fans seemed stunned by the home team’s collapse on Tuesday night.

The American League scored two runs with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to beat the National League 3-2 in the All-Star Game at PNC Park.

All-Star Game MVP Michael Young was down to his last strike before tripling to center field to score Seattle’s Jose Lopez and Toronto’s Troy Glaus, as the NL’s winless streak reached 10 games.

It looked like the NL was about to snap that streak after NL manager Phil Garner turned the game over to San Diego’s Trevor Hoffman with a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning. Hoffman got Chicago’s Jermaine Dye and Baltimore’s Miguel Tejada on grounders back to the mound. After Chicago’s Paul Konerko singled, the NL caught a break as Glaus’ drive to left field skipped over the wall for a ground-rule double, keeping Lopez, who was pinch running for Konerko, at third.

Young then hit an 0-2 pitch into the gap in right-center field to score both runs.

“He was throwing fastballs early in the inning – and he has that great change-up,” Young said. “Down 0-2 to a guy like (Hoffman), I knew I had my work cut out for me. My only thing was to make contact.”

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth inning for the save. B.J. Ryan picked up the win after a perfect eighth.

It was the first time the NL team lost an All-Star Game played in Pittsburgh.

Garner’s NL squad showed an aggressive style, stealing two bases in the third inning. The Mets’ Carlos Beltran scored on a wild pitch by Toronto’s Roy Halladay in the same inning.

The AL was in a position to win thanks, in part, to a play made by another Blue Jay. Vernon Wells saved a run in the third by throwing out Washington’s Alfonso Soriano at the plate. Beltran delivered a single to center field that looked like it would bring Soriano home from second, but Wells delivered a perfect strike to Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who tagged out Soriano.

Los Angeles’ Vladimir Guerrero gave the AL the lead in the second with a home run over the 21-foot-high fence in right field, but the NL answered as David Wright hit one into the seats in left field. Wright, who finished second in Monday night’s Home Run Derby, became the 13th player to homer in his first All-Star Game at-bat.

There was plenty of defense on display in the low-scoring game. Pirates infielder Freddy Sanchez delighted the hometown crowd with a number of plays in the field. He made a leaping catch of a line drive by Boston’s Mark Loretta in the fifth inning and took a hit away from Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore in the eighth with a diving, backhanded stop.

Pittsburgh’s Jason Bay, who normally plays left field, made a nice catch of a sinking liner in right field in the third. St. Louis’ Albert Pujols made a nice play during the top of that inning, fielding Loretta’s bad-hop grounder with his bare hand for an unassisted putout.

NL starter Brad Penny struck out the side in the first inning before giving up the homer to Guerrero.

Major League Baseball gave the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award to the family of Roberto Clemente for the late Pirate’s contributions to baseball on and off the field. Clemente was only the ninth player to receive the award.

“The award goes to someone who has made an enormous historical impact on the game of baseball,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Roberto Clemente has done that. He was a legend not only in Pittsburgh, not only in the Latin community, but he was a legend – and still is – in America and around the world.”

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