The All-Star Game will have a Kansas City flavor, just not as much as it appeared last month. And the hometown Reds can celebrate a starter, too, despite Cincinnati’s sorry season. Houston second baseman Jose Altuve passed Kansas City’s Omar Infante in the final days of voting, leaving four Royals as starters for the All-Star Game. Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier leapfrogged St. Louis third baseman Matt Carpenter and will be in the NL starting lineup for the July 14 game at Great American Ball Park, according to final results announced Sunday. AL champion Kansas City will be represented in the starting lineup by outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon, catcher Salvador Perez and shortstop Alcides Escobar.
Four players ties the AL record for fan-elected starters, achieved nine times previously. Kansas City had not had any starters since outfielder Jermaine Dye in 2000. ”Winning brings attention, and that’s what we’ve been doing,” Gordon said. ”I think we play with a lot of energy, a lot of fun. People have noticed it.” Eight Royals were on track to start in vote totals announced June 15, but first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and designated hitter Kendrys Morales also were overtaken. ”We’re going to have a blast,” said Royals manager Ned Yost, manager of the AL team. ”The All-Star Game is an experience you never forget, and to do it with so many of our teammates there is really special.” Yost already has made one decision: Cain will play right field and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels will play center. Trout will make his fourth straight All-Star appearance. Seattle’s Nelson Cruz, suspended for the final 50 games of the 2013 season for violating baseball’s drug agreement, was elected to start for the second straight year.
In the closest vote at any position, Cruz’s 10.6 million votes edged Morales’ 10.32 million at designated hitter. Toronto’s Josh Donaldson will start at third for the second straight year after receiving a record vote total of 14.09 million, topping Josh Hamilton’s 11.07 million in 2012. Trout was second this year with 14 million. Washington outfielder Bryce Harper set a mark for NL players at 13.86 million, topping the previous record of 7.62 million set three years ago by San Francisco catcher Buster Posey, who was elected to start again this year. MLB said 620 million votes were cast, breaking the old mark of 391 million in 2012. The New York Yankees do not have any fan-elected starters for the first time since 2001. At least two elected starters will miss the game because of injuries: Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton broke a hand on June 26, and Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera hurt his left calf Friday. In addition, the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday, who finished third among NL outfielders behind Harper and Stanton, has been sidelined since straining a quadriceps on June 8 and is uncertain when he will return. ”I’m getting there,” Holliday said. ”I’ve got a few more hurdles to clear with my running, but I feel like I’m getting pretty close.
” Each fan could cast up to 35 ballots in the first year of all-online voting. Pitchers and reserves will be announced Monday. Altuve overturned a 232,000-vote deficit in Monday’s update and finished with 9.63 million to top Infante, who was just shy of 9 million. Frazier trailed Carpenter by 2.5 million votes in mid-June and by 63,000 at the start of the week but finished ahead by 2.1 million. ”I was really nervous. I was excited. It was a huge comeback,” Frazier said. ”I’m pretty much on Cloud Nine.” NL starters include Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Miami second baseman Dee Gordon and St. Louis shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who also was suspended 50 games following MLB’s investigation of the Biogenesis of America clinic. Dee Gordon remembered attending All-Star Games when his dad, pitcher Tom Gordon, made the roster. ”In 2004 I got kicked off the field for trying to rob Home Run Derby homers,” he said.