“I'm going to get the lineup card and frame it," Papelbon said.
After all, it isn't often that you see Red Sox and Yankees collaborating on anything. But it does happen more often than the National League winning an All-Star Game.
Because that run of futility has stretched to 13 games — 12 wins and a wretched tie — or longer than Papelbon can remember when the last time the NL came out on top.
“I really don't (remember)," he said.
(That would be 1996 in no-longer-standing Veterans Stadium, a 6-0 NL shutout, by the way).
But Papelbon does know arguably the biggest reason why the AL has won the last four games by one run apiece. And that would be the AL having him, Joe Nathan and Rivera lined up at the back end of things.
"I think that's a huge part of it," Papelbon said. “This was a special one for me. I pitched in front of Joe. I pitched in front of Mo. This one was an eye-opener because it showed you how important it is to have that back end of the 'pen."
AL manager Joe Maddon couldn't agree more.
"When you're drawing it up before the game, it feels kind of nice," he said. “I was hoping we would have the lead after six, and set up those three for the last three innings. In the regular season, I would match up (pitchers vs. hitters). But with those three, it was just their inning."
But to get there, beginning with the final out in the NL's three-run second off Roy Halladay, AL pitchers ran off a streak of 18 consecutive batters retired, and needed only 48 pitches to do it. That's less than three per at-bat.
“It is (amazing), and it isn't," Papelbon said. “Considering the pitchers we had out there."
In order: Mark Buehrle, Zach Greinke, Edwin Jackson and Felix Hernandez, then Papelbon's scoreless top of the seventh. But the biggest reason why it stayed that way was Carl Crawford's leaping, over-the-wall grab of Brad Hawpe's leadoff blast to left-center that could have made him the game's hero and ended the NL's misery.
That and a single got Crawford the game's Most Valuable Player Award — a big reminder of how the game is reverting back to its pitching, defense and speed roots in the post-Steroid Era. Even Crawford said the honor "caught me totally off-guard."
“(Hawpe) hit it good, but I didn't think it was going to carry that far," Crawford said. “But it definitely would have gone over the wall. That has to be my top play. I don't think I've ever taken away a home run. I picked the right time to do it."
All part of Crawford's continuing maturation into an all-round star in his manager's eyes.
“His whole game has picked up,'' Maddon said. “He's become a better offensive player, a better defensive player, a better base runner, a better base stealer — everything."
Added Papelbon: “Oh yeah, I made sure to thank him, and tell him great catch and everything."
And then it was Curtis Granderson's turn. With one out, he sped all the way to third when his drive off the base of the left-center field wall momentarily eluded NL center fielder Jayson Werth, and he later scored on Adam Jones' sacrifice fly.
“He didn't assume it was going to be a double," Maddon said. “He went for third. The fact that he thought of it, and then did it, was fabulous."
The stretch of consecutive batters retired didn't come to an end until Nathan gave up a two-out walk and then a single in the bottom of the eighth.
That set up the pinch-hit appearance NL manager Charlie Manuel had planned for his own first baseman — Ryan Howard, a St. Louis native who drew the loudest cheers other than the three Cardinals playing in the game.
But Nathan struck out Howard with a breaking ball in the dirt that catcher Victor Martinez handled, and Rivera got through a breezy 1-2-3 ninth that included freezing Hawpe with his legendary cut-fastball.
“Everybody we sent out there threw efficiently and effectively,'' Papelbon said. “The tone was set."
ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Harvey pitched six hitless innings, John Buck homered and the New York Mets held off another Atlanta comeback, beating the Braves 4-3 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
The 2009 All-Star Game
Highlights from baseball’s big event, including the Home Run Derby and the rosters for the AL and NL teams.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.