Big League Stew - MLB

Vulture! Nats’ Clippard gets win without getting anyone outLong ago, ballplayers coined a term for relief pitchers who luck into getting a victory. Guys who just happen to be in the game when their team pushes across the lead run.

They call them "vultures," after the bird of prey which swoops in, seemingly from nowhere, and snaps up its unsuspecting victim.

On Tuesday night at the 82nd All-Star game, Washington Nationals right-hander Tyler Clippard(notes) had no delusions about what he was.

A vulture. With safety goggles.

Clippard allowed a single to the only batter he faced, yet somehow came away with the victory as the National League won 5-1. It's not all Clippard's fault, but it's also the best possible example of the lunacy that is awarding pitchers individual decisions.

So how did it happen?

The NL trailed by a run with two outs in the fourth inning when Clippard relieved Cliff Lee(notes). Clippard threw three pitches to Adrian Beltre(notes) and allowed a sharp single to left. Jose Bautista(notes) tried to score on the play, but Astros outfielder Hunter Pence(notes) made a perfect throw home and Brian McCann(notes) applied a quick tag at the plate to end the inning.

Watch Clippard get lucky

In the bottom half of the fourth, Prince Fielder(notes) connected for a three-run homer to put the NL ahead. Manager Bruce Bochy changed pitchers in the fifth, the NL's lead held up and Clippard had his victory.

All in a night's work.

C. Trent Rosecrans of CBS Sports caught up with Clippard, who saw no reason to embellish his performance.

"No, I'm going to say I grooved an 0-2 heater to Beltre and Hunter Pence threw him out at the plate to vulture a win in my first All-Star Game," Clippard said. "I don't think that story gets any better."

It wasn't a total cosmic accident Clippard got the win. This kind of thing happens to him. In the 2010 season, Clippard racked up 11 victories as a setup man, including seven wins by May 12.

C'mon, dude, quit bogarting all of the wins. Share with everyone else.

Coincidentally, another Nats pitcher — Matt Capps(notes) — also recorded the victory at the 2010 All-Star game by pitching one-third of an inning. At least Capps labored a little by throwing five pitches and striking out a guy.

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