July 10, 2012
National League wins all-star game
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
KANSAS CITY - Ah, about that American League superiority ...
The Nationals thumped the Americans 8-0 in the 83rd all-star game Tuesday night before 40,933 fans at Royals Stadium securing home field advantage for the NL in this October’s World Series.
It was the third straight win by the NL, which leads overall 43-38-2.
The AL’s best, Justin Verlander, the MVP and the Cy Young award winner a year ago, struggled with his control allowing five runs in the first.
“I’m sure if you asked him he would say his control wasn’t where it was supposed to be,” Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista told reporters outside the AL locker during the seventh. “Knowing him, he won’t lose any sleep, he’ll come back and have a strong second half.”
Pablo Sandoval, known as the Kung Fu Panda in San Francisco hit a three-run triple into the right-field corner, which Bautista chased down.
Earlier Ryan Braun doubled over the head of Bautista.
“I got my running in,” Bautista said.
The nervy first: Melky Cabrera singled to left with one out and Braun doubled against the bullpen fence to score the game’s first run. After Verlander walked Carlos Beltran and Buster Posey, the second on four pitches. Sandoval hit a 1-1 pitch into the corner in right for a bases-clearing triple. Dan Uggla reached on an infield single scoring Sandoval for a 5-0 lead.
“No one came to the park to see me throw 90 m.p.h., they wanted to see me crank it up to 100,” Verlander told reporters. Six of his 35 first-inning pitched were clocked in triple digits ... The five-run outburst was the largest inning for the NL since the fifth inning of 2003 at U.S. Cellular Field. Todd Helton hit a two-run homer off Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Scott Rolen and Rafael Furcal then singled. Andruw Jones doubled against Eddie Guardado and Albert Pujols singled home Jones.
Jose can see: While Bautista wasn’t able to track down Braun double’s and didn’t have a chance on the Sandoval triple, he charged a soft Braun liner making a great diving catch for the final out of the second. “It was a big catch,” said Bautista. “I’m glad I was able to stop the momentum. That put an end to the inning. It felt good.” ... Bautista is off to Los Angeles on Wednesday for the ESPY awards and a picture shoot for ESPN The Magazine. Then, Thursday it’s back to Toronto ... “Then, we start the second half, we hope to make the playoffs ... I’m getting older,” Bautista said. “I liked the experience here, but I’ve been on a losing team (in the all-star game) all three years I’ve been here.” ... Bautista said he spent time with Adrian Beltre, David Ortiz, Elvis Andrus and Verlander since arriving Sunday night.
“I’ll remember Monday,” said the slugger, who hit 20 homers in the State Farm Home Run Derby losing 12-7 in the final to Prince Fielder.
Bryce Harper, the controversial add-on when Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton was scratched (why not replace a Marlin with a Marlin?) was caught off second on a come backer and lost a fly ball in the lights ... Robinson Cano, booed since he got off the airport for not selecting Royals’ Billy Butler for the home run derby, singled in two at-bats on fans. Cano said he didn’t mind the booing but thought it went too far when his family was hooted at on their way to the washroom ... Matt Cain worked two scoreless followed by Gio Gonzalez, Steven Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, R.A. Dickey, Cole Hamels, Craig Kimbel, Aroldis Chapman, Wade Miley, Joel Hanrahan and Jonathan Paplebon combined on the six-hit shutout, the eighth in all-star history
16 AND COUNTING
Joey Votto’s appearance marked the 16th straight year a Canadian has appeared in an all-star game according to Kevin Glew’s Cooperstowners in Canada. Votto took an 80 m.p.h. curve ball (the previous pitch was a 100 m.p.h. fastball) to strike out against Verlander in the first. He grounded to third on a 98 m.p.h. fastball from David Price in the third and bounced a 90 m.p.h. fastball from Matt Harrison to second. He finished his night 0-for-3 and is hitless in seven all-star at-bats, with two strikeouts ... Larry Walker began the streak in 1997 and made three more appearances. Justin Morneau has made four, Eric Gagne, Jason Bay and Russell Martin three each and Ryan Dempster two. Jason Dickson, Jeff Zimmerman and Paul Quantrill were selected once.
ORANGE IS IN
Cabrera and Sandoval, the two Giants teammates, wore bright orange Under Armour shoes, which reminds us of the 1981 all-star game in Cleveland. Montreal Expos catcher Gary Carter signed a shoe deal to wear white cleats. He arrived at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland with extra pairs for teammates Andre Dawson and Tim Raines. Expo manager Dick Williams began to give grief to Carter until Carter pulled out a pair for Williams. So the picture on the front of Sports Illustrated was Carter shaking hands with third base coach Williams after his second homer in a 5-4 win over the NL ... Like Carter, who homered deep to left off Ron Davis, Cabrera hit a two-run homer to left against lefty Matt Harrison.
UP, UP AND AWAY
The Arizona Republic is reporting outfielder Justin Upton is available and the Blue Jays may be a match. The Diamondbacks want a shortstop, third baseman or a star-caliber starting pitcher. The Diamondbacks like Adeiny Hechavarria. Upton, signed for the next three seasons and owed nearly $42 million, is hitting .273 with seven home runs.
How good of a year is Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen? The man with the braids is hitting .362 with 18 homers and 60 RBIs, while stealing 14 bases. The last player to have such good numbers in the three triple crown categories plus stolen bases? Walker was hitting .398 with 25 homers and 68 RBIs with 19 steals at the all-star break for the 1997 Colorado Rockies. McCutchen had a 1.039 OPS, while had a 1.237 mark on his way to winning the NL MVP.