NEW YORK -- As Jason Grilli crossed the threshold of the Citi Field bullpen and made his way to the mound, his mind reverted to its usual thought in those situations: Send the opponent back to the dugout.
"Get three outs as quick as possible," Grilli said. "I was more calm than maybe I even anticipated. I was trying to enjoy the moment."
At 36 years old and in his 11th season in the major leagues, Grilli made his first All-Star appearance for the National League, which lost, 3-0, to the American League Tuesday night. The AL will have home-field advantage in the World Series.
Grilli pitched the ninth inning. He allowed a leadoff triple to Prince Fielder that scooted under a diving Carlos Gomez in right, but retired the next three batters.
"I got a good carrot coming here," Grilli said. "This is one of the things, I had a personal goal of mine to do this at some point in my career. I got it."
NL manager Bruce Bochy watched three innings go by without his squad recording a hit. Once they did, he didn't want to waste it.
He turned to Andrew McCutchen, inserting him to pinch-run after Carlos Beltran singled in the fourth. McCutchen stole second and took third on a grounder, but his trip around the bases would end there.
McCutchen went 0 for 2 with two strikeouts.
"It was fun, being able to go out and be in the game," McCutchen said. "Get a couple opportunities to hit. I had a lot of fun doing it."
Pedro Alvarez replaced David Wright at third base in the eighth and popped out in the final at-bat of the game.
"I was definitely a little more jittery [Monday]," said Alvarez, who competed in the Home Run Derby.
"I felt pretty good. I felt pretty comfortable."
The AL won for the first time since 2009, when it beat the NL, 4-3, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The AL had won 12 in a row -- excluding the tie in Milwaukee in 2002 -- before the NL won the previous three.
Chris Sale earned the win, Patrick Corbin took the loss. Joe Nathan earned the save for the AL.
Both sides pitched well. No one issued a walk until Grant Balfour threw four consecutive balls to Michael Cuddyer to lead off the bottom of the sixth.
Mariano Rivera, selected to his 13th and final All-Star team, pitched a perfect inning, the eighth instead of the ninth so manager Jim Leyland could ensure Rivera would appear. He received a standing ovation as he took the mound alone, his teammates only taking the field as he started his warm-up pitches, his traditional "Enter Sandman" playing on enemy turf.
"The pressure of it all, how he's handled it -- he's the man," Grilli said. "There's nothing more you can say about [him]. He's the mound. He's the record-setter, the trend-setter, the guy that everyone's going to want to be if you're a relief pitcher or closer."
Rivera was named MVP, the first relief pitcher to do so in the All-Star Game.
Three pitches into the game, NL starter Matt Harvey was in trouble. Mike Trout doubled on the first pitch. Two pitches later, Harvey's 96 mph fastball hit Robinson Cano in the right knee. After trainers checked on Cano, he stayed in the game, but left the field in favor of a pinch-runner one batter later. X-rays revealed no fracture.
"Obviously, that was the last thing I wanted to do, go out there and possibly injure somebody," Harvey said.
Harvey sandwiched a Chris Davis flyout with strikeouts of Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista to strand two and escape the inning.
Starter Max Scherzer and the first reliever, Sale, kept the NL without a hit through the first three innings, retiring the first nine batters in order.
Cabrera doubled off Corbin in the fourth inning. Davis' single tipped off Joey Votto's glove and put runners on the corners with no outs. Jose Bautista's sacrifice fly scored Miguel Cabrera, putting the AL ahead, 1-0.
Another leadoff double gave the AL another run in the fifth. Adam Jones doubled off Cliff Lee, took third on Joe Mauer's single and scored on J.J. Hardy's fielder's choice. The AL led, 2-0. Jason Kipnis' RBI double in the eighth extended the lead to 3-0.
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @BrinkPG.