SURPRISE, Ariz.—Gerrit Cole was the last East All-Star player to leave the field Saturday night at the end of the Rising Stars Game.
The No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 draft was trying to follow his Arizona Fall League teammates down the left-field line, toward the clubhouse at Surprise Stadium. Instead, he had stopped and was signing autographs for fans, even posing for a picture here or there.
"I didn't get to do it pregame," Cole said with a shrug. "It's not that big of a deal."
It was probably the highlight of the evening for Cole, who didn't make it out of the first inning and gave up two home runs in the East's 11-2 loss to the host West squad in the Rising Stars Game. Cole's counterpart on this night, Mariners farmhand Danny Hultzen, was more successful in his stint, lasting two innings and striking out the side in the first, whiffing Mike Trout (Angels) in the process.
On paper the East had the talent edge in terms of star power, with Minor League Player of the Year Trout as well as the last two No. 1 overall picks in Cole and Bryce Harper (Nationals). Trout singled in his last at-bat, going 1-for-3, and Harper had a walk and sacrifice fly before striking out in his final two at-bats against righthanders Jeremy Jeffress (Royals) and Brad Boxberger (Reds). Cole wound up giving up five runs and gave up as many home runs (two) as he got outs.
Instead, shortstop Nick Franklin (Mariners) and the West offense owned the game. Franklin became the first player in the six-year history of the Rising Stars Game to have a four-hit game, and he got Cole's night off to a rough start when he hit a down-and-in fastball out to left-center field for a two-run homer. That followed a double by mustachioed leadoff man Kevin Mattison (Marlins).
Cole gave up an infield single and a walk, sandwiched by a strikeout, before the inning really got out of hand. First baseman Joey Terdoslavich (Braves) hammered a 1-2 pitch to straightaway center field for a three-run shot, making it 5-0. Cole got one more out and then departed as his pitch count was too high, despite failing to complete the inning.
"I thought I made some good pitches," Cole said. "The two-strike pitch to Terdoslavich caught too much of the plate, and he put a good swing on it. I thought overall I threw some good pitches, but it's Arizona; sometimes it's like that here, sometimes the ball really jumps.
"You could pitch backwards and maybe have a little more success, but that's not what this is about. It's about learning and getting better and developing, and that's what I'm trying to do."
Franklin showed that he was getting better from his bout with mononucleosis that limited him to 88 games in the regular season. He'd been off to a slow AFL start, with just three extra-base hits in 65-at-bats, before stroking a homer and two doubles in his first three Rising Stars at-bats Saturday night, with four RBIs. He got an infield single in the fifth and later committed an error in the field but had a strong showing overall.
Terdoslavich added a double and single after his first-inning homer as the West pounded out 14 hits, and he added two nice plays defensively at first base. Brian Dozier (Twins) hit a solo homer to lead off the third, and Harper's sacrifice fly scored Junior Lake (Cubs), who had doubled in the fourth, for the East's only runs.