For the first All-Star appearance of his career, Corey Kluber certainly took advantage of it. The Indians' starting pitcher was awarded the win after the American League defeated the National League for the fourth consecutive year, 4-2.
Kluber took the mound for the AL in the top of the second, and didn't stay there long. He forced ground-outs by Buster Posey and Anthony Rizzo, and caught Marcell Ozuna looking at a corner fastball to end the inning.
The last Indians' pitcher to earn a victory in the All-Star game was Bartolo Colon back in 1998. He looked a lot different back then
When Kluber was selected to replace Toronto's Marco Estrada in the 2016 MLB All-Star Game, there wasn't exactly a consensus opinion on the matter. Depending on how you value a pitcher, Kluber's stats are either underwhelming or All-Star caliber. He's recorded nine wins on the season and boasts one of the league's best ground ball rates at 48.3 percent. He's also recorded eight losses, behind a 3.61 ERA and 54 runs allowed.
Tigers' pitcher Michael Fulmer was every bit as deserving as Kluber to earn a selection. The rookie phenom is 9-2 on the season with a 2.11 ERA, and holds a clear advantage over Kluber from a numbers perspective.
But Kluber silenced the skeptics, blanking the NL is his short-yet-productive outing to give the AL bragging rights and home field advantage in the 2016 World Series.
This year, it means more for the Indians.
For the first time in what feels like forever to many Indians' fans, the Tribe is competitive this year and have a sizable chance at winning the AL Central. The World Series is a long ways away, but its not completely unrealistic to think the Indians could get there. If they do, Kluber will have played a significant role in giving Cleveland that much-needed extra game.