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On This Date in Sports June 10, 2001: All-Star Groove

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Playing in his final All-Star Game, Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles wins his second All-Star MVP as the American League beats the National League 4-1 at Safeco Field in Seattle. Ripken hits a third-inning home run off Chan Ho Park of the Los Angeles Dodgers that the pitcher confessed was a grooved pitch for the retiring future Hall of Fame to hit out of the park. 

It was an All-Star season in the Pacific Northwest, as the Seattle Mariners were setting MLB on fire, as they were on the way to a record 116 wins, led by Ichiro Suzuki, who in his first season from Japan became the second player to win MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season. Ichiro was also the leading vote-getter in the All-Star Game and led off for the American League. National League manager Bobby Valentine of the New York Mets got special permission to name Tom Lasorda as his third base coach, the Hall of Fame manager would take a scary tumble during the game. Valentine named former Mariner Randy Johnson, who was with the Arizona Diamondbacks, as his starter on the mound.  Joe Torre chose his own ace on the New York Yankees, Roger Clemens, to start for the American League. 

The 2001 All-Star Game was the final for Cal Ripken Jr., who was voted a starter at third base and the last for Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres, both of whom announced they would retire at season's end. When the game began, Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers, playing shortstop, switched positions with Ripken, allowing the future Hall of Famer to play one last All-Star Game at the position he played the majority of his career. Gwynn, meanwhile, was unable to play due to an injury. 

Both starting pitchers were strong as no runs were scored in the first two innings. Freddy Garcia of the Mariners pitched a perfect inning in the third, while Chan Ho Park of the Dodgers took the hill in the bottom of the third. Park threw a batting practice fastball to Cal Ripken, which was hit into the leftfield bullpen after a long standing-ovation.  

Luis Gonzalez of the Diamondbacks got the NL's first hit against Andy Pettitte of the Yankees in the fourth but did not advance further. In the fifth inning, the AL scored an earned run off Mike Hampton of the Colorado Rockies, as Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers drove home Jason Giambi of the Oakland Athletics. The National League finally got on the board in the sixth inning as Jeff Kent of the San Francisco Giants scored on a sac-fly by Ryan Klesko of the Padres, with Mike Stanton of the Yankees on the mound. In the bottom of the inning, Derek Jeter of the Yankees and Magglio Ordonez of the Chicago White Sox hit back-to-back home runs off Chicago Cubs hurler Jon Lieber.

The 4-1 lead would stand the rest of the game as the American League continued its recent dominance of the mid-summer classic. Kazuhiro Saski of the Mariners would finish the game by getting Cliff Floyd of the Florida Marlins to groundout to first.