Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval Lead NL All Star Game Rout

Players of the Day for Tuesday, July 10, 2012

National League

It was all National League in this year's all star classic, as players from the senior circuit showed their American League rivals how to play the game in an 8-0 rout.

Ryan Braun
Melky Cabrera
Led by last season's NL MVP, Ryan Braun, who doubled, tripled scored a run and drove in one in three at-bats, and the unlikely heroics of Pablo Sandoval, the NL put up five big ones in the first inning and three more in the fourth to complete the scoring.

Melky Cabrera brought his .353 average to the game and showed why he'll be one of baseball's most sought-after free agents at the season's conclusion, singling and scoring the game's first run in the first and belting a two-run homer in the fourth to go 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI.

Sandoval, not exactly fleet afoot, with only 12 triples in four-plus seasons in the majors, delivered the biggest blow for the National Leaguers, rapping a bases-loaded triple into the right field corner in the first, plating Braun, Carlos Beltran and teammate Buster Posey for a 4-0 NL lead. Sandoval, who got the starting nod at third base over obvious choice, David Wright, made the most of his opportunity, going 1-for-2 with three RBI. He also scored after his triple, sent home by Dan Uggla's scratch single.

Pablo Sandoval
National League pitchers - all 11 of them - did their part, holding AL batters to just six hits. Only the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw gave up more than one hit. Kershaw loaded the bases on singles by David Ortiz and Mike Napoli and a walk to Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera, but got Ian Kinsler on a fly ball to right to end the only serious scoring threat of the game by the AL.

All of the NL runs came off two pitchers, starter Justin Verlander, who was tagged for four hits, two walks and five earned in his first-inning starting role, and Texas hurler, Matt Harrison, who allowed four hits and three earned runs, working the fourth.

It was the third straight win for the National League, urged on by Chipper Jones' pre-game pep talk in which the future hall of famer told teammates he didn't want his last all star game to be a losing effort.

The win by the NL gives home field advantage to the National League entrant in this season's World Series, an edge which has worked out well for the NL, winning the 2010 and 2011 fall classics, as the Giants and Cardinals respectively captured the title.

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