The game is perhaps most remembered for the play of Dave Parker in the outfield, as he had two assists on putouts at third base and at the plate. With Parker receiving the MVP award for this game, and teammate Willie Stargell winning the National League MVP, NLCS MVP, and World Series MVP, all four possible MVP awards for the season were won by members of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The game was also notable for the play of Lee Mazzilli — the lone representative from the then-lowly New York Mets — providing the margin of victory. In his only All Star appearance, Mazzilli tied the game in the eighth inning with a pinch hithome run off of Jim Kern of the Texas Rangers, and then put the National League ahead for good in the ninth, drawing a bases-loaded walk against Ron Guidry of the New York Yankees.
This would be the only time the Kingdome would host the All-Star Game. When it returned to Seattle for a second time in 2001, the Mariners had moved to their new home at Safeco Field.
The NL regained the lead on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Parker in the second and an RBI groundout by Dave Winfield in the third. The AL went back up 5-4 in the bottom of the third when Carl Yastrzemski batted in a run with a single and Chet Lemon scored on a Schmidt error.
The score remained that way until the sixth, when the NL tied it back up at 5-5 on a Winfield double off Mark Clear and an RBI single by Gary Carter. Pete Rose pinch-hit in the sixth and bounced into a double play, and then entered the game, replacing Garvey at first and becoming the first player ever to appear in the All-Star Game at five different positions.
The AL went back up 6-5 in their half of the sixth. Gaylord Perry gave up a leadoff single to Yastrzemski, a double to Darrell Porter, and an RBI single to Bruce Bochte before leaving in favor of Joe Sambito without retiring a batter. Sambito pitched the NL out of trouble by getting pinch-hitter Reggie Jackson to ground to Davey Lopes at second. Lopes gunned down Porter at the plate. After an intentional walk to Roy Smalley to load the bases, Sambito retired Brett and Mike LaCoss got Baylor to hit into a force play end the inning.
In the seventh, Jim Rice led off and blooped a double to right, but was thrown out by Dave Parker as he tried to stretch the hit into a triple. Lee Mazzilli, batting for Gary Matthews tied the score at 6-6 in the NL half of the eighth with an opposite-field solo homer off Jim Kern for the first-ever pinch-hit home run in MLB All-Star game history.
The AL then came to bat in the eighth and mounted one last threat. Brian Downing led off with a single off Bruce Sutter and was sacrificed to second. Sutter walked Reggie Jackson intentionally and then struck out Bobby Grich. Graig Nettles then blooped a single to right, and Downing attempted to score, but once again the arm of Dave Parker claimed another victim. Parker fired a perfect strike to Carter, who blocked Downing from ever reaching the plate. This play, along with his earlier play on Rice, earned Parker the game's MVP award.
The NL took the lead for good in the ninth, without recording a base hit. Joe Morgan walked with one out and was balked to second. Kern walked Parker intentionally, but then walked Ron Cey to load the bases. Ron Guidry came in and retired Craig Reynolds, but then walked Mazzilli, forcing in Morgan with the winning run. Sutter retired the side, including two strikeouts, in the ninth to get the win.