National League scores early and often in lopsided win

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 11, 2012 - 6:40 AM

The National League pounced on Justin Verlander for five first-inning runs, got plenty of production from its Giants contingent and cruised to an easy victory.

KANSAS CITY, MO. - The All-Star Game hadn't produced a first-inning meltdown like the one Justin Verlander had Tuesday night since 2004, when Roger Clemens surrendered six runs in a highly anticipated start before his hometown fans in Houston.

Verlander, the American League's reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner, gave up five first-inning runs, and with the way the AL offense has been hitting in recent years, it was basically game over.

A trio of San Francisco Giants turned in the biggest performances, and Joe Mauer was relegated to a late-game cameo at first base, as the National League rolled to an 8-0 victory at Kauffman Stadium.

Giants righthander Matt Cain set the tone for the NL's pitching brilliance, breezing through the first two innings. His San Francisco teammate Pablo Sandoval hit a three-run triple in the first inning off Verlander, and Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera earned All-Star MVP honors, going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer.

The NL claimed home-field advantage in the World Series again, extending a three-game All-Star winning streak in which it has outscored the AL 16-2.

"The talk the last few years was that we couldn't lose before that," Mauer said, referencing the AL's unbeaten streak from 1997 to 2009. "It goes in cycles."

Verlander admitted he wasn't himself in the first inning. He has given up six first-inning runs combined in 18 starts for the Tigers this year. His forte has been an ability to save his hardest pitches for big, late-inning jams. In his July 4 complete game against the Twins, he tossed his fastball 91 miles per hour in the first inning.

This time, in his first All-Star start, his first two pitches were 97 and 98 mph. The radar gun might have been juiced, but he reached 100 mph six times in the 35-pitch inning, and topped out at 101.

"That's why I don't try to throw 100 all the time," Verlander said. "It usually doesn't work out too well for me. I know this game is important, that it's for home-field advantage, but it's for the fans. They don't want to see me throw 90 and paint corners. They want to see a 100 mph fastball. I gave 'em that."

The NL sent nine batters to the plate in the first. Ryan Braun's RBI double opened the scoring, and Sandoval broke things open with his two-out, bases-clearing triple off the right field wall. Dan Uggla added an RBI single that inning, as former Twins closer Joe Nathan started warming in the bullpen.

"The only thing you can say is [Verlander's] not used to throwing 100 in the first," said Nathan, who pitched a scoreless second inning. "He's usually 92-93 and lights it up when he needs to."

The NL added three runs off Rangers lefthander Matt Harrison in the fourth inning. Tony La Russa, who retired after leading the Cardinals to the World Series title last year, picked St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday to pinch-hit for Carlos Gonzalez, and Holliday delivered a two-out, RBI single to right field before Cabrera followed with his two-run homer.

It was quite a homecoming for Cabrera, who had 201 hits for the Royals last year before getting traded to the Giants for lefthander Jonathan Sanchez.

"I didn't come to win an MVP," Cabrera said. "That's just a surprise."

La Russa pushed all the right buttons, starting with his decision to start Cain over knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. La Russa's plan was to hold off on Dickey until mid-game, when he could enter with backup catcher Carlos Ruiz.

Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw followed Cain with an inning apiece before Dickey entered with Ruiz in the sixth. Cole Hamels pitched the seventh before the NL, in true La Russa fashion, used five relievers to get through the final two innings.

"I was aware that this was going to be it," La Russa said, knowing this was his final game as a manager. "You just get wrapped up like you usually do in trying to win the game. It consumes you."

Mauer entered at first base in the eighth inning and gave Twins fans a quick highlight with a sharp single off Diamondbacks lefthander Wade Miley in the ninth.

"It was a great event," Mauer said. "I was glad to get in the game there at the end and come up with a hit."

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Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 FINAL
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
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