OTHER SPORTS Giants walk tall in All-Star game

Cabrera’s two-run homer and Sandoval’s three-run triple lead National League to an 8-0 win

July 12, 2012

Kansas City: The National League erupted for five runs in the first inning and limited the American League to just six singles to win the All-Star game 8-0 on Tuesday, the first shutout in the Midsummer Classic since 1996.

A 316-metre, two-run homer by San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera and a three-run triple by his Giants teammate Pablo Sandoval led the NL attack.

Cabrera, who finished with two hits in three at-bats with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored, was named the game’s most valuable player.

“I didn’t come to win an MVP,” said Cabrera, whose 119 hits this season leads the majors. “That’s just a surprise. It’s a great gift that the Lord gave me.”

To cap an extraordinary night for the Giants, NL starter Matt Cain, who surrendered two hits in two innings, got the win. He was one of 11 pitchers to silence the potent AL bats.

The NL battered starter Justin Verlander in the top of the first after a run-scoring double by Ryan Braun, Sandoval’s game-turning triple that stayed just inside the foul pole and an RBI infield single by Dan Uggla.

Verlander threw 35 pitches, surrendering four hits and two walks in his only inning of work and was tagged with the loss.

“It’s very disappointing, because we’re competitors and we want to win,” said AL manager Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers. “But I think you’ve got to tip your hat to the National League.

“They came out, they swung the bats, once they got the lead, started bringing those arms in, they got the job done.”

The NL’s first-inning fireworks sapped the enthusiasm from the crowd of 40,933 on a 32C night inside 39-year-old Kauffman Stadium.

An RBI single by Matt Holliday and Cabrera’s shot into the left-field bullpen off Texas’s Matt Harrison hiked the NL’s lead to 8-0 in the fourth.

The AL’s best chance to get back into the game occurred in the fifth but Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler flied out to left with the bases loaded to end the threat.

“They scored and the pitching came in and did the rest,” said Washington. “And in this game, if you can pitch, you’ve got a chance. And they can pitch. They did tonight, anyway.”

In the last three All-Star games, all won by the NL, the AL have managed to score a total of two runs. It was the first shutout in an All-Star game since the NL won 6-0 in 1996 at Philadelphia.

The National League’s victory gives them the home-field advantage in the World Series, a bonus not lost on the St Louis Cardinals, who won the seventh game a year ago on their home turf against the Texas Rangers.

NL manager Tony La Russa won the World Series with the Cardinals last October and then retired. He said he was “aware” during the game on Tuesday it would be the last time he would wear a uniform and he made sure to savour the occasion.

“You just get wrapped up like you usually do in trying to win the game,” he said. “It consumes you... It rarely happens where you can enjoy the moment. And I enjoyed it.”

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