Pablo Sandoval and Melky Cabrera keyed a five-run blitz in the first inning that set up the National League’s 8-0 win over the American League in Tuesday’s All-Star game.
Cabrera homered and won the MVP award, and his San Francisco Giants teammate Matt Cain started a strong pitching performance for the NL in their most-lopsided All-Star victory.
Cain combined with Stephen Strasburg, R.A. Dickey, Aroldis Chapman and the rest of the bullpen on a six-hitter.
Ryan Braun, an All-Star again after his drug suspension was overturned last off-season, doubled, tripled and made a fine catch in the outfield to help give the NL their first three-game winning streak in two decades.
Chipper Jones singled in his final All-Star at-bat at age 40 as the NL, under retired manager Tony La Russa, once again claimed a victory that means their team will host Game 7 of the World Series if they go that far.
Teen sensation Bryce Harper had a shaky All-Star debut. Fellow rookie Mike Trout, only 20, showed off his dynamic skills.
The game was effectively decided a few moments after it started.
Sandoval hit the first bases-loaded triple in All-Star history off Justin Verlander, who could not control his fastball. Cabrera singled and scored the first run, then hit a two-run homer against Matt Harrison in a three-run fourth.
“I don’t get many triples,” said the slow-footed Sandoval, known as “Kung Fu Panda.” “We had some fun with that in the dugout.”
Cabrera was flanked by his mother as he received his award.
“I was surprised for me, the MVP, but thank you the fans,” he said.
As the All-Stars returned to Kansas City for the first time since 1973, La Russa bid a fond farewell to the national stage in the city where he played for his first major league team.
Having retired after managing St Louis to last year’s World Series title, La Russa became just the fourth inactive manager to skipper an All-Star team and improved to 4-2.
The NL boosted their advantage to 43-38-2 and won for just the third time in the 10 years the All-Star game has been used to determine home-field advantage in the World Series. La Russa’s Cardinals benefited from last year’s NL All-Star victory, with St Louis winning Game 6 and Game 7 at home against Ron Washington’s Texas Rangers.