Brewers duo gets chance to face Mo in All-Star Game
Gomez, Segura both ground out against Yankees icon in eighth inning
NEW YORK -- Carlos Gomez actually got a hit off of Mariano Rivera as a rookie in 2007, driving in a run with a bases-loaded infield single in the ninth inning of a Mets-Yankees game in the Bronx. As nervous as he might have been then, it was nothing like the scene he faced Tuesday night in the National League's 3-0 loss to the American League in the All-Star Game at Citi Field.
He wasn't on deck while players stood in both All-Star dugouts and gave Rivera an ovation. That challenge belonged to Gomez's Brewers teammate, Jean Segura, but he was getting ready. The scene, he said, gave him goosebumps.
Gomez knew his spot was due up in the eighth, but he didn't think Rivera would be in the game.
"When I see Mariano, I continued to clap," Gomez said. "Because a guy like that, like a gentleman, like a great person and a fantastic ballplayer and real professional, it's a guy that everywhere you see him, on the field and off the field, you're going to tip your cap. He deserves it, now and when he's retired."
Segura, obviously, had never seen Rivera. This was his one and only chance. He wasn't nervous, he said, but he knew the significance of the moment.
"It feels pretty good because this is his last All-Star Game," Segura said. "This makes you feel great in that situation."
Segura saw four pitches, all cutters, and grounded out to second. Two batters later, as much of the sellout crowd at Citi Field pulled for Rivera to finish out the eighth inning, Gomez came up.
He battled Rivera for six pitches, all of them cutters, and grounded out to short. He couldn't get that upset. The moment was still special.
"It's fun," Gomez admitted. "To have the experience when you know the best closer comes to pitch in the eighth, and you know he's going to retire and be the last hitter and the last out, I'm really happy. It's the best.
"I'd have been really excited if I get a base hit. I got a ground ball, but I'm still happy because Mariano got me out."
Both Gomez and Segura entered the All-Star Game as mid-game replacements. Segura followed National League starter Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop in the sixth inning. Gomez replaced Bryce Harper in right field an inning later.
For Gomez, it was a moment he'd been waiting for. His parents didn't get to see him play at Shea Stadium when he made his Major League debut with the Mets in 2007, but they were able to see him Tuesday.
"To have them mention my name to come here and represent the National League, it's special even if you don't play," Gomez said. "And when the manager told me, 'You're going in to right field,' I was excited like a kid, and I said OK.
"I don't remember the last time I played right field, maybe once for the Mets. Being in right field, everything's closer, so close it's a little weird. But I can play anywhere. If you have in your mind, you're here to enjoy and do your best."
Segura had some memories beyond the Rivera at-bat, including two defensive plays that gave fans at Citi Field a glimpse of what Milwaukee fans have been watching all year. His quick feed to second base helped start a double play on Edwin Encarnacion in the seventh before he started one on his own to double up Torii Hunter in the eighth.
"I didn't have any nerves. I just felt great," Segura said. "It feels pretty good."