Juancito Martinez missed his first All-Star Game because of injury. Roman Quinn hadn't hit a home run in the first 45 games of his professional career.
For both New York-Penn League All-Stars, Tuesday was the chance to make up for lost time.
Game MVP Martinez was 2-for-2 with an RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases while Quinn contributed an inside-the-park homer as the National League bested the American League, 8-1, in the short-season league's All-Star Game. The contest was played in front of 5,897 at Mahoning Valley's Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.
The Jamestown center fielder, who was named to the DSL All-Star Game in 2009 but couldn't play, admitted he first was just happy to be included in the festivities.
"When I saw my name in the lineup, I was just ecstatic," Martinez said through a translator. "I just wanted to do a good job out here and show people what I can do. Most people know I'm a fast guy, so I think everyone on the field knew I would try to steal."
The 23-year-old outfielder got the chance to show off his speed in Tuesday's fifth inning. After singling in the third, Martinez drove in the game's second run with a one-out base hit to left. He then stole second base and proceeded to come home after his swipe of third forced a throwing error by AL catcher Sam Kimmel, who had entered the game that inning as a defensive replacement.
Martinez was batting .242 in 43 games, but made the NL squad for his basestealing ability. His 14 thefts rank fifth on the Class A Short-Season circuit, and that was enough for NL manager Angel Espada -- his skipper at Jamestown -- to give him the start, batting ninth.
"It seems like he definitely made some adjustments," Espada said. "You could tell he was trying to show everyone what he's all about. It's definitely exciting for him."
Quinn got his chance to shine in the showcase three innings later. The Williamsport shortstop entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth against Hudson Valley right-hander and Rays' first-rounder Taylor Guerrieri and made the most of his opportunity.
The Phillies' second-round selection from 2011 laced a shot through the hole at shortstop and started running.
"Once I hit the ball, I thought it was an easy double," Quinn said. "So I just took off and saw that they were waving me in. Gosh, it was just really unexplainable."
The Florida native, who added an RBI single in the ninth to finish 2-for-2 with a game-high two RBIs, didn't have any homers but tripled nine times over 187 at-bats in his first pro season prior that plate appearance. But he acknowledged he still can't wait to get the first that counts.
"It's a big deal obviously," Quinn said. "But at the same time, it loses a little bit because I know it's not going to be showing up on my stats sheet."
Nine National League pitchers combined on an eight-inning shutout before Tri-City's Blake Ford gave up a solo homer to Tyler Hanover of Connecticut in the ninth.
In particular, four Brooklyn pitchers -- starter Luis Mateo, game winner John Mincone, Hansel Robles and Gabriel Ynoa -- all caught the eye of their manager for the day.
"They're all great Mets arms, and they're all arms that really impressed me today," Espada said. "You can tell the future of that system is very bright. As the years go by, hopefully they have great careers and I can say someday that I managed them in the 2012 All-Star Game."
Still, it was Martinez who walked away with the individual hardware Tuesday, and that's a moment he'll make sure replaces the memory of the missed All-Star Game.
"I want to put the bat in a glass case and hang it up next to my [All-Star] jersey at home," he said. "That way people can see it and know what I did here."
Tri-City's Austin Elkins plated two runs after entering as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
AL leadoff hitter Thomas Coyle (Hudson Valley) provided the team's only other extra-base hit with a third-inning triple. Staten Island's James Pazos was the hardest-hit AL pitcher, giving up four runs on three hits in the ninth .
Before the game, the league announced that the Connecticut Tigers will host the 2013 All-Star Game on Aug. 13, 2013 at Dodd Stadium.