Rivera, making his 13th All-Star appearance in what he has said will be the final season of his 19-year career with the New York Yankees, helped finish off an outstanding performance by a parade of 10 American League pitchers.
They combined to surrender only three hits and ended the American League's three-year losing streak in baseball's annual summer showcase. The victory means that the eventual American League champion will have home field advantage in this year's World Series.
Baltimore's J.J. Hardy, Toronto's Jose Bautista and Cleveland's Jason Kipnis all drove in a run to set up what the crowd had been anticipating all night -- a walk to the mound by Rivera.
It came in the eighth inning and as he completed his trip from the bull pen Rivera took off his cap and acknowledged the prolonged cheers from the crowd. Rivera's American League teammates came out of the dugout and joined in the applause.
Rivera, 43, has saved 638 games in his career and has 30 of them in 32 chances this season.
He did not get credit for a save in this one, but he retired Milwaukee's Juan Segura, St. Louis' Allen Craig and Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez in order in the eighth. When the last out was recorded in the eighth, Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez rushed from behind the plate to be the first to congratulate Rivera, who was named the game's MVP.
Joe Nathan of Texas came on in the ninth to get the save and give the win to Chicago's Chris Sale, who was perfect while pitching the second and third innings.
The American League scored the game's first run in the fourth when Detroit's Miguel Cabrera doubled off losing pitcher Patrick Corbin of Arizona, moved to third on a single by Baltimore's Chris Davis and came in on a sacrifice fly by Bautista.
A fielder's choice grounder by Hardy in the fifth delivered Baltimore's Adam Jones from third and Kipnis doubled home Perez in the eighth.
The National League turned four double plays to stay in the game, but was shut down by a pitching staff that allowed just one walk and struck out eight.
There had not been a shutout in the All-Star Game in 16 years before the National League pulled off an 8-0 win last season. Tuesday's result created back-to-back shutouts for the first time since the All-Star game was created in 1933.