NL rolls to shutout victory in All-Star Game
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pablo Sandoval and Melky Cabrera turned the All-Star Game into a Giant blowout.
Flashing their bright orange spikes and booming bats, the San Francisco sluggers keyed a five-run blitz against Justin Verlander in the first inning that sent the National League to an 8-0 romp over the American League on Tuesday night.
Cabrera homered and won the MVP award, and Giants teammate Matt Cain started a strong pitching performance for the NL in its most-lopsided All-Star victory.
Cain combined with Stephen Strasburg, R.A. Dickey, Aroldis Chapman and the rest of a lights-out staff on a six-hitter.
“San Francisco Giants show,” Matt Kemp of the rival Dodgers said during the game.
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen entered the game in the fifth inning and went 1 for 2 with a single. Bucs closer Joel Hanrahan faced one batter in the ninth — the Royals’ Billy Butler — and struck him out.
Ryan Braun, an All-Star again after his drug suspension was overturned last winter, doubled, tripled and made a fine catch in the outfield to help give the NL its first three-game winning streak in two decades.
Chipper Jones singled in his final All-Star at-bat at age 40 as the NL, under retired manager Tony La Russa, once again claimed home-field advantage in the World Series.
Teen sensation Bryce Harper had a shaky All-Star debut. Fellow rookie Mike Trout, only 20, showed off his dynamic skills.
The game was pretty much decided a few moments after it started.
Sandoval hit the first bases-loaded triple in All-Star history off Verlander, who couldn’t control his 100 mph heat. Cabrera singled and scored the first run, then hit a two-run homer against Matt Harrison in a three-run fourth.
“I don’t get many triples,” said the slow-footed Sandoval, known as Kung Fu Panda. “We had some fun with that in the dugout.”
Cabrera was flanked by his mom as he received his award.
“I was surprised for me, the MVP, but thank you the fans,” he said.
Rafael Furcal also hit a three-bagger, making the NL the first league with three in an All-Star Game.
As the All-Stars returned to Kansas City for the first time since 1973, La Russa bid a fond farewell to the national stage in the city where he played for his first major league team.
Having retired after managing St. Louis to last year’s World Series title, La Russa became just the fourth inactive manager to skipper an All-Star team and improved to 4-2.
The NL boosted its advantage to 43-38-2 and won for just the third time in the 10 years the All-Star Game has been used to determine home-field advantage in the World Series. La Russa’s Cardinals benefited from last year’s NL All-Star victory, with St. Louis winning Games 6 and 7 at home against Ron Washington’s Texas Rangers.
Jones, retiring at the end of the season, also had one last All-Star moment, pinch hitting in the sixth and singling.