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Melancon driven to be an All-Star _ in minivan

Monday - 7/15/2013, 7:44pm  ET

Pittsburgh Pirates All-Stars pose for a photo before a baseball game at PNC Park against the New York Mets in Pittsburgh Sunday, July 14, 2013. From left they are; relief pitcher Mark Melancon (35), center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22), starting pitcher Jeff Locke (49), relief pitcher Jason Grilli (39), and third baseman Pedro Alvarez (24). After twenty years without a winning season, the Pittsburgh Pirates are putting on a good show in the first half of the 2013 season, and fans in a town so loyal to football and hockey are wondering: Is this finally the time for baseball hope, or is collapse once again just around the corner? (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- You could say Mark Melancon was driven to be an All-Star.

The Pittsburgh Pirates reliever learned Saturday he was selected as a National League replacement after teammate Jeff Locke got hurt. Melancon took a decidedly non-chic route to Citi Field.

"I rented a minivan, and my wife and I and my parents drove," he said Monday.

His parents flew to Pittsburgh from Colorado when they found out Melancon had earned the honor, giving the Pirates five All-Stars for the first time since they were defending World Series champions in 1972.

Melancon needed 14 tickets in all for family and friends -- each player gets six for free under baseball's labor contract and pays for the rest.

But while most All-Stars jet in, Melancon got to see Interstate 80 from the minivan along with his parents.

"My parents picked it up when they arrived at the airport, when they flew in," he said. "They got packed up and they came to the game, and we took off from the stadium."

His father drove, while he and wife Mary Catherine were passengers along with their nearly 2-year-old daughter Brooklyn and his mom.

The 380-mile drive takes about six hours, and they arrived in Manhattan about midnight.

"We talked, and I got some good quality family time," Melancon said.

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