The National League jumped out to a giant lead early, and never looked back in their convincing 8-0 win over the American League at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City for their third straight All-Star Game win.
Melky Cabrera (Giants) won named the game's MVP after hitting a two-run home run en route to a 2-for-3 night with two runs.
The 83rd annual Midsummer Classic started off with a bang, as the NL was able to tag Justin Verlander (Tigers) for five runs in the first inning.
A Ryan Braun (Brewers) double scored Cabrera, but the big blow came four batters later when Pablo Sandoval (Giants) smacked a bases-loaded triple to the corner of right field to give the National League a 4-0 lead before the American League had a chance to bat.
From there, it was smooth sailing for the NL.
The pitching staff was brilliant, led by starter Matt Cain (Giants) who threw two innings of one-hit baseball. After Cain, it was Gio Gonzalez (Nationals), Stephen Strasburg (Nationals), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), R.A. Dickey (Mets), Cole Hamels (Phillies), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Aroldis Chapman (Reds), Wade Miley (Diamondbacks), Joel Hanrahan (Pirates) and Jonathan Papelbon (Phillies) who combined for the six-hit shutout against an incredibly talented AL lineup.
They are the true MVPs of the ballgame, the first All-Star shutout since the NL blanked the AL 6-0 back in 1996. The eight-run margin marks the biggest win the NL has ever had over the AL.
Verlander is one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball right now, but he got absolutely shelled by the NL lineup. How rare is it for Verlander to give up five runs in the first inning? CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler has the answer:
Before 1st inning tonight, last time Verlander allowed 5 in any inning was 4/11/2010 vs. Cle (also 5 in 1st)— DKnobler (@DKnobler) July 10, 2012
Not only did Sandoval hit a triple, but so did Braun and Rafael Furcal (Cardinals). That’s an All-Star Game record according to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi:
There is no question the most valuable team on Tuesday night was the San Francisco Giants. As ESPN’s Buster Olney points out, they are now owed an apology by critics who didn’t approve of three of them being in the starting lineup:
SF fans took a beating for their ballot-box stuffing...Apparently, they will be owed the thanks of NL team at the start of the World Series.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 10, 2012
Billy Butler (Royals) stepped to the dish in the seventh inning for his first official All-Star plate appearance to resounding cheers from the home crowd.
He was facing Cole Hamels, who is still taking heat for plunking Bryce Harper (Nationals) for no reason in particular earlier in the season. Former MLB legend Dale Murphy made this priceless joke making light of the matchup:
Wait a sec… that was Billy Butler’s 1st All-Star game at-bat right? Why didn’t Cole Hamels hit him?— Dale Murphy (@DaleMurphy3) July 10, 2012
Say what you want about whether the All-Star Game winner should be awarded home-field advantage in the World Series, but it’s clearly important, as CNBC’s Darren Rovell tells us:
Since the All-Star Game determined World Series home field advantage, the home team has gone on to win the title 6 of 9 times.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 10, 2012
This was a rather boring All-Star Game to say the least.
It was exciting to see all of the runs scored off Verlander, but it made for a rather mundane rest of the game.
The AL was only able to muster six hits, and only posed a real threat to score in the fifth inning.
The only memorable moment from the game came when Chipper Jones (Braves) was able to single in his lone plate appearance. Considering this will be his final appearance at the All-Star Game, it was cool to see him leave with a hit.
You could argue Tony La Russa using three pitchers in the ninth was a fitting end to his career, but most of America had already changed the channel by that point.
In the end, a ton of credit goes to the Giants. They had a pitcher go two scoreless innings, and three hitters who combined for five RBI, including the MVP of the game.
Whoever makes it to the Fall Classic needs to thank San Francisco for the Giants' respective efforts tonight.