|USA Today Sports Images|
Nationals highlight: Harper's night was fairly uneventful, though he didn't exactly have favorable matchups at the plate against White Sox lefty Chris Sale and A's closer Grant Balfour. Harper did make solid contact off Sale, lining a shot right at third baseman Miguel Cabrera. He then got jammed by Balfour and hit a little looper to short that was caught by J.J. Hardy. Harper did get to play six innings in the field, three more than he predicted before the game. He made three catches in center field, then spent three innings roaming right field without needing to make a play.
Other highlight: How can we not highlight Rivera in his final All-Star Game appearance? Entering for the bottom of the eighth — just in case there was no bottom of the ninth — the greatest closer in baseball history got a roar from the crowd and got a standing ovation from both dugouts. His AL teammates even left the field clear as Rivera began his warm-up tosses. Once a batter stepped into the box, the results were all too predictable: a 1-2-3 inning of relief. Rivera exited to another standing ovation and the knowledge no All-Star will ever wear No. 42 again.
Key stat: Five Nationals position players have appeared in the All-Star Game and gone a collective 2-for-11 at the plate (Alfonso Soriano 1-for-2, Dmitri Young 1-for-1, Cristian Guzman 0-for-3, Ryan Zimmerman 0-for-2, Bryce Harper 0-for-3).
Up next: The Nationals open the unofficial second half of their season Friday night when the Dodgers come to D.C. Stephen Strasburg will face Zack Greinke in the 7:05 p.m. opener at Nationals Park.