Johnny Cueto pitched a complete game two-hitter in Game 2 of the World Series last year to help the Royals claim their crown over the Mets. But in the 87th MLB All-Star Game, the Royals didn't give Cueto any breaks.
In his first season with the Giants, Cueto got the call to start on the bump in the Midsummer Classic. Cueto cruised through the first inning, allowing only a Mike Trout single. The second inning was a much different story.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts started off the bottom of the second inning with a groundout to Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant before Cueto faced his old Royals teammate Eric Hosmer. With the bases stranded, Cueto threw a fastball that found the middle of the plate and the fat of Hosmer's bat. The Royals first baseman launched a 389-foot solo shot off Cueto to tie the game up at a one run apiece.
Cueto apparently woke up the morning of the All-Star Game feeling ill and fought it off to start the game for the NL.
"I'm not trying to make excuses, but sometimes you get up and you don't feel well," Cueto told reporters after his outing, according to the Associated Press. "This morning I got up and didn't feel well. That is not an excuse. I wanted to go out there and pitch and do the best I could."
A Mookie Betts single to center field brought up Cueto's next former friend turned foe. And the Royals would make Cueto pay again.
Catcher Salvador Perez turned on a fastball for a 373-foot, two-run shot to the left field bleachers, giving the American League a 3-1 lead. Jackie Bradley Jr. followed Perez with a lightly tapped single, but Cueto struck out Jose Altuve before being replaced by Jose Fernandez in the bottom of the second inning.
"I would have loved to be able to get them out, but I just left two pitches up and that was the story," Cueto said after failing to complete two innings of work.
Cueto's final line saw him going 1 2/3 innings pitched while allowing three earned runs on five hits, including the two Kansas City homers. The AL went on to beat the NL, 4-2, as Cueto was charged with the loss.
Tuesday night was Cueto's second career All-Star Game and the first in which he toed the rubber.
At the All-Star break, Cueto is 13-1 with a 2.47 ERA in 18 games started. He has struck out 115 batters in 131.1 innings pitched while tossing four complete games in his first season in San Francisco.