With the American League's 4-2 win in the 2016 All-Star Game on Tuesday night, the Nationals will not have home field advantage if they are fortunate enough to make it to the World Series this fall. But the NL's loss can't be blamed on the Nats themselves, who saw a well-rounded effort put in by their All-Star representatives.
Four of them played, as their fifth All-Star - Stephen Strasburg - watched from the dugout. He saw Bryce Harper land his first career hit in an All-Star Game, Daniel Murphy reach base three times and Max Scherzer toss a perfect sixth inning. Wilson Ramos was the only one who didn't stand out with a strikeout in his lone at-bat.
Harper got on with a double in the top of the third inning off Rangers lefty Cole Hamels. Harper smoked a hard grounder past Red Sox shortstop Xander Boegarts and into left-center field. Harper also had an at-bat in the first inning where he grounded out to Astros second baseman Jose Altuve on the first pitch delivered to him from White Sox starter Chris Sale.
Murphy entered in the fifth inning as a pinch-hitter and reached base on an Altuve error in his first at-bat against White Sox lefty Jose Quintana. Murphy was originally called out before an umpire replay review ruled him safe. Murphy also got on with a single in the seventh inning against Yankees reliever Dellin Betances.
Murphy later ended the seventh on a nice snag up the middle where he threw to first just in time to beat Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and get Pirates reliever Mark Melancon out of a bases loaded jam. It was in the ninth inning that Murphy reached for the third time, in a poke single to center field against Orioles closer Zach Britton. Murphy reached with one out, but the NL squad couldn't push him across.
Scherzer replaced Braves starter Julio Teheran to pitch the bottom of the sixth. Despite pitching on just two days rest, Scherzer was electric with three fastballs that touched 98 and another that hit 97. He got Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer to ground out, Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran to fly out and then Orioles catcher Matt Wieters to strike out swinging on a 98 mph heater. Scherzer threw 18 pitches in the frame, 12 of them strikes.
Ramos' All-Star debut brought more action on defense than it did at the plate. He replaced Giants catcher Buster Posey in the bottom of the fourth to catch Padres lefty Drew Pomeranz. He then struck out on three pitches against Quintana before going back out on defense for the seventh to catch Scherzer.
All in all it was a very strong showing for the Nationals, who have the second-best record in baseball at 54-36. Their five All-Stars set a record for most representatives in team history.