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May 29, 2014

Pudge's late homer ends Classic in tie

The rain was 0-for-2 Saturday in its attempts to cancel the Baseball Hall of Fame Classic, but in the bottom of the sixth inning, a mix of thunder and showers resulted in a walkoff.

The sixth-annual exhibition game at Doubleday Field ended in a 4-4 tie after 5 1/2 innings, but by then, the 6,063 fans had seen two rosters full of recently-retired players, a dramatic home-run derby, good pitching, a trade and four home runs.

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez hit a two-run homer about 400 feet to center field to score Brady Anderson in the top of the fifth inning to tie it at 4 for the Knucksies, also known as the American League All-Stars. Anderson reached base when his infield dribbler resulted in a throwing error by Wizards first baseman Luis Gonzales, then moved to second on a passed ball.

Pitchers shut down batters for the most part.

Pedro Martinez started for the Knucksies and threw one scoreless inning. Martinez faced four batters, allowing a single to left field to Wizards shortstop Jack Wilson.

“It’s beautiful to be here,” Martinez said. “A great opportunity to be part of this and interact with many players that you faced and played with.”

Kirk Rueter did even better for the Wizards, who were the National League All-Stars. The left-hander threw three shutout innings, allowing one hit and two walks.

Steve Avery relieved Rueter in the fourth inning and gave up two runs in two innings. In the fourth inning, crowd favorite Hideki Matsui got the Knucksies going with a home run off Avery. It traveled into the back row of the stands down the right-field line.

In the fifth, Mike Sweeney’s bloop single to center field scored Aaron Rowand and made it 2-0. Rowand doubled to the left-field wall to set up Sweeney’s RBI single.

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