Giants-led Senior Circuit blanks AL

9:02 PM, Jul 10, 2012   |    comments
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KANSAS CITY, MO - The National League, sparked by a trio of San Francisco Giants and exceptional pitching, will again have home-field advantage in the World Series after blanking the American League, 8-0, in the 83rd edition of the Midsummer Classic.

The capacity crowd at Kauffman Stadium watched the NL rough up reigning AL MVP Justin Verlander for five runs in the first inning, three coming on a triple by Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval's teammate in San Francisco, Melky Cabrera, was voted the MVP as he went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, while starter Matt Cain, the backbone of the Giants' pitching staff this year, hurled two scoreless innings to earn the win.

Last year's NL MVP, Ryan Braun of the Brewers, went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI and had one of three triples for the Senior Circuit, which won the showcase game for the third straight time after a 13-year drought.

Tony La Russa, the first inactive All-Star manager since Bob Lemon in 1979, used a combination of 11 pitchers who held the AL to just six hits, one coming from the Angels' Mike Trout in the 20-year-old's first at-bat.

It was the eighth shutout in All-Star history.

Ron Washington, manager of the two-time reigning league champion Rangers, opted to start Verlander, and the Tigers ace surrendered four hits and two walks his only inning on the hill.

Cabrera, sporting Giants-orange cleats, began his memorable night by singling in the first inning and scoring when Braun doubled over the head of Jose Bautista in right.

After striking out Joey Votto for the second out, Verlander walked the next two and threw a breaking ball to Sandoval that was golfed down the right-field line. The ball ricocheted off the wall and away from Bautista, allowing the bases to clear and Sandoval to pull up for a rare triple.

Dan Uggla beat out a run-scoring single between short and third to cap the five-run frame.

Cain, making his first appearance on the hill in his third All-Star selection, shook off Derek Jeter's leadoff single in the first and hurled a perfect second. Texas' Josh Hamilton, who received a record 11,073,744 votes in fan balloting, narrowly missed a two-run homer when he flew out to the warning track in left in his first at-bat.

Tampa Bay's David Price and Washington's Gio Gonzalez exchanged 1-2-3 innings in the third, and a pair of Cardinals and Cabrera put together a two-out rally in the fourth to blow the game open.

With Texas' Matt Harrison on the mound, Rafael Furcal legged out a stand-up triple, and his teammate, Matt Holliday, slapped a base hit to right for 6-0 cushion.

Five pitches later, Cabrera took Harrison over the wall in left to highlight his first All-Star appearance.

Bryce Harper made history an inning later when he entered as a pinch-hitter and worked a walk. The 19-year-old Nationals phenom became the youngest position player in All-Star history, though his night was somewhat sullied when he lost a ball in the lights in the bottom half. The Junior Circuit eventually loaded the bases, but the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw worked out of the jam by getting Texas' Ian Kinsler to fly out, coincidentally, to Harper.

In the home sixth, Trout, who turns 21 next month, became the third youngest player to record a hit in an All-Star Game, but R.A. Dickey, the surprisingly successful knuckleballer from the Mets, stranded a pair to keep the AL off the board.

The Phillies' Cole Hamels retired three straight in the seventh, including Billy Butler, the only representative of the hometown Royals.

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and Kinsler to start the eighth, and Reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman, after walking Trout, blew a 98-m.p.h. fastball past Mark Trumbo to end the inning.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer led off the home ninth with a single off Wade Miley, who was pulled with one away for Joel Hanrahan. The Pirates closer struck out Butler on a payoff pitch, and the Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon closed out the shutout by retiring Matt Wieters.

Game Notes

The AL has scored just two runs during its three-game losing streak in the event...La Russa retired as Cardinals manager after leading the club to last year's World Series...The Nationals' Stephen Strasburg worked around a single and a walk in pitching a scoreless fourth...Giants catcher Buster Posey, who topped all National League vote-getters with 7,621,370, went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored...AL pitchers retired the final 11 batters they faced...This was the first All-Star Game in Kansas City since July 24, 1973...The contest featured 26 first-timers, as well as a record five rookies...The game marked the 10th straight year that the All-Star Game determined which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series...Next year's contest will be played at Citi Field in New York.

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