Giants Steal the Show at All-Star Game!

By Daniel Brown dbrown@mercurynews.com
San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   July 10, 2012   

All Photo’s Courtesy of San Jose Mercury News

“KANSAS CITY, Mo. — To repay the fans who stuffed the ballot box, the Giants stuffed the box score Tuesday night.”

Melky Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Matt Cain propelled the National League to an 8-0 victory in the 83rd All-Star game at Kauffman Stadium, silencing a weeklong uproar from a sour Big Apple.

Sandoval, who surpassed Mets third baseman David Wright in the controversial final balloting, hit a three-run triple to key a five-run first inning.

Cain, who got the starting nod over Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, pitched two scoreless innings and became the first Giants pitcher to win an All-Star game since Vida Blue in 1981.

And Cabrera, the former Royal making a triumphant return to Kansas City, had a rally-starting single and a two-run homer. The N.L. center fielder became the first Giants player to win MVP honors since Bobby Bonds in 1973, also in Kansas City.

The Giants-themed night marked just the seventh time in All-Star history that the MVP and the winning pitcher both came from the same team.

“We were trying to show the fans that we support them,” Sandoval said.

“I can’t thank fans enough for voting these guys in,” Cain said.

The N.L. now has its first three-game winning streak since 1994-96 and, as per the new tradition, secured home-field advantage for the World Series.

In all, Giants hitters combined to go 3 for 7 with a home run, five RBIs and four runs, an onslaught that made it a tossup as to whether Sandoval or Cabrera would win the MVP award.

To celebrate his honor, Cabrera brought his mother and grandmother to the news conference podium. He spoke as his mom dabbed away tears.

“It’s a gift to have them here,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera started the first-inning scoring parade by blazing out of the batter’s box in his Nike neon-orange cleats.

Seeing no need to savor his first career All-Star at-bat, Cabrera smacked the first pitch he saw, a 98 mph fastball from Justin Verlander, to left field for a one-out single. He scored on Ryan Braun’s double to make it 1-0.

Verlander struggled with his control after that, walking Carlos Beltran and Posey to load the bases. Sandoval noticed that the Tigers ace was struggling with his fastball, so he was ready when Verlander tried a curve.

Sandoval lashed the ball into the right-field corner for a three-run triple. By the time Sandoval chugged into third, the N.L. led 4-0.

“The back-breaker,” N.L. manager Tony La Russa called it.

In an unlikely development, Sandoval joined Mel Ott (1938) and Willie Mays (’57, ’59, ’60) as Giants players to hit a triple in an All-Star game.

“I didn’t know where the ball was going to end up,” Sandoval said, “so I just put my head down and ran.”

The five-run first tied an N.L. record for most runs in an inning. After that, the only drama was the final margin of victory. Cabrera, who scored the first game’s first run, also scored the last: He homered with Matt Holliday aboard in the fourth.

In doing so, Cabrera joined seven other Giants players with All-Star home runs: Johnny Mize (1947), Mays (’56, ’60 and ’65), Willie McCovey (two in ’69), Dick Dietz (’70), Bobby Bonds (’73), Will Clark (’92) and Barry Bonds (’98, ’02).

Ryan Cook made a contribution to the Bay Area’s night, too. The A’s closer pitched a scoreless seventh inning, striking out fellow rookie sensation Bryce Harper (looking), getting Carlos Ruiz on a flyout and striking out Wright (looking).

“It was everything I dreamed it would be and 10 times more,” Cook said of the experience.

Cain and the rest of the N.L. pitchers delivered zeros, too. This was the first All-Star shutout since the N.L. won 6-0 in 1996 in Philadelphia. The eight-run margin of victory was the largest by either team since the A.L. won 13-3 at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1983.

Cain breezed through his two innings in part because his nerves were eased by the 5-0 lead built by a few familiar faces.

“It’s always fun to watch Pablo run the bases,” he said.

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