MINNEAPOLIS -- Jeff Samardzija's strange journey finally came to an end Tuesday. Now the pitcher can concentrate on helping the A's reach the postseason.
In the past two weeks, Samardzija was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the A's, named to the National League All-Star team, told he couldn't pitch for either side in the All-Star game and spent time with both teams over the past two days at Target Field.
"These last few weeks have been pretty tumultuous. It's going to be nice to get back to the norm of the Coliseum and just playing together," Samardzija said. "I think we're really excited, and we've kind of put this to rest now, the sideshow that's happened with me being right in the middle of all this."
Samardzija wore a generic National League batting practice jersey and a cap with the league logo during introductions. He was the last N.L. player introduced, and he stood at the end of the line closest to home plate, providing something of a bridge to the A.L. stars standing on the first base line.
He then changed into his A's uniform and joined his Oakland teammates in the A.L. dugout for the start of the game. But not before he paid his respects to his N.L. comrades.
"I wanted to make sure ... they appreciated the love from me for voting me onto the team. I just wanted to say thanks for all the good times facing those guys," Samardzija said. "Mike Matheny was the manager, and I've had some good battles against him, so it was nice to talk to him, too, and tell him I appreciate everything he's done for getting me on the team."
The winning league in the All-Star game has gone 8-3 in the 11 World Series since the home-field advantage rule was instituted. A's closer Sean Doolittle allowed himself a moment of reverie, thinking about how Tuesday's victory could matter in three months, but said, in the end, the competition was enough incentive.
"It would be cool, once October rolls around, to be able to look back and say we had a hand in giving ourselves home-field advantage," Doolittle said. "But I think we're really just looking to have fun, enjoy it and win for the sake of winning."
Donaldson was tested in the first inning, when Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-out grounder down the third-base line. Donaldson deftly fielded the two-hopper on his backhand side and threw out the Diamondbacks first baseman, stranding Andrew McCutchen on third base to end the first inning.
Donaldson struck out against Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw in the second. In the fifth against ex-teammate Pat Neshek, Donaldson was robbed of a hit on a diving play by Goldschmidt at first base.
First baseman Miguel Cabrera bailed out Donaldson in the top of the fifth when he leaped high to grab an errant throw and slapped the tag down on McCutchen for the out. Donaldson's only other chance was a line drive off the bat of the Brewers' Aramis Ramirez that he handled cleanly.
Pence was retired by Royals closer Greg Holland on a one-hopper to third base to close out the top of the seventh. He didn't get any action in the field and was on deck when Colorado's Charlie Blackmon grounded out to end the game.
A look at how the 10 A's and Giants All-Stars fared Tuesday night:
Player Team Highlights
OF Yoenis Cespedes A's Grounded out in both at-bats
3B Josh Donaldson A's 0 for 2, SO; started alongside SS Derek Jeter
LHP Sean Doolittle A's K'd Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo in 8th
LHP Scott Kazmir A's Struck out Giancarlo Stanton in 6th inning
IF/OF Brandon Moss A's Played right field; struck out in lone at-bat
C Derek Norris A's Singled to open go-ahead rally in 5th; scored
OF Hunter Pence Giants Grounded out to third in lone at-bat
Did not play: LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants; RHP Tim Hudson, Giants; RHP Jeff Samardzija, A's