Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) – Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann hit a three-run double in the seventh inning, boosting the National League to its first victory at the All-Star Game since 1996, a 3-1 decision over the American League at Angel Stadium.
The AL had been unbeaten in the previous 13 midsummer classics, winning five in a row from 1997-2001 before a 7-7, 11-inning tie in 2002 when both squads ran out of pitchers. The AL was on a seven-game winning streak.
This was just the fourth win in the last 23 All-Star Games for the NL (4-18-1) which will have home-field advantage for the World Series. That could bode well for the Braves considering they are in first place in the NL East, four games ahead of the New York Mets.
“It’d be big for any NL team that gets there,” McCann said. “Being in first place at the break, we’ve had a lot of guys on our team step up and play big. It was nice just to come out here and be a part of this All-Star Game.”
Home run derby champion David Ortiz singled off the Dodgers’ Jonathan Broxton on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning, but Adrian Beltre struck out. Chicago Cubs right fielder Marlon Byrd then made a heady defensive play. John Buck looped a single to right field. Byrd played the ball on a hop and threw to second base to get Ortiz on the force play. Ian Kinsler flied out to right-center field ending the game and leaving the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez as the only position player not used for the AL.
McCann, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning, was named the game’s MVP, marking just the second time a Brave has been honored, joining first baseman Fred McGriff in 1994.
“You dream about moments like this as a kid,” McCann said. “Tonight was just amazing.”
The Mets’ David Wright had two of the seven hits for the NL. Washington’s Matt Capps picked up the victory, while Broxton held on for the save.
Phil Hughes, from nearby Mission Viejo, suffered the loss. Yankees teammate Robinson Cano knocked in the only run for the AL with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. The AL had just six hits in the 81st edition of the All-Star Game.
Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez and Tampa Bay’s David Price both lasted two innings in their starts. Price became the youngest All-Star starting pitcher since 23- year-old Dwight Gooden of the Mets in 1988.
Hughes started the top of the seventh. Scott Rolen singled to center field and hustled to third on Matt Holliday’s base hit up the middle. Torii Hunter’s throw was wide of the base. Matt Thornton then retired pinch-hitter Chris Young on a pop foul to first. Byrd battled back from an 0-2 count and walked.
McCann then fouled Thornton’s first offering barely into the stands down the right field line, but lined the second pitch into the right field corner for a 3-1 NL lead. Andrew Bailey then walked Rafael Furcal, but Brandon Phillips struck out to cap the frame.
The AL put runners on first and third against St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright in the bottom of the seventh, thanks in part to a dropped ball by Holliday on a ball hit by Buck. But the Angels’ Hunter struck out swinging at an outside pitch to finish the inning.
San Francisco’s Brian Wilson retired the side in order in the eighth.
A moment of silence was held before the game for Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who passed away earlier Tuesday at the age of 80. A brief tribute was played on the video board.
The voice of late Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard, who died Sunday at the age of 99, introduced shortstop Derek Jeter before he walked to the plate with one out in the first inning. Jeter walked and Miguel Cabrera followed with a single to put runners at the corners, but Josh Hamilton grounded into a 1-6-3 double play.
Evan Longoria doubled with one out in the bottom of the second, but couldn’t advance another base.
Ryan Braun made a diving catch on a ball hit by Hamilton down the left field line in the fourth inning.
Justin Verlander escaped a jam in the top of the fifth. Wright singled up the middle and stole second as catcher Joe Mauer’s throw sailed into the outfield. Andre Ethier singled with one out, but Wright was held up at third. Corey Hart then struck out and pinch-hitter McCann flied out to the warning track in right field.
Hong-Chih Kuo walked Longoria to start the bottom of the fifth. Mauer then hit a ball to the third base side of the mound. Kuo’s throw sailed over the head of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, placing runners at the corners. Cano then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field. Heath Bell sprinted from the bullpen area with two outs and retired Hunter on a fly ball to right, leaving Carl Crawford stranded at second base.
Elvis Andrus was caught stealing second in the bottom of the sixth when he slid off the base. Capps fanned Ortiz on a called third strike to end the inning.
Players and coaches representing the Yankees at the All-Star Game wore black armbands for Steinbrenner. The bottom of the patch said “The Boss”…The unbeaten streak for the AL was the longest in the game’s history, surpassing the Senior Circuit’s 11-game run from 1972-1982…Texas’ Cliff Lee, who started for the AL All-Star squad in 2008, threw just six pitches in the fourth inning…The NL overall advantage stands at 41-38-2 in All-Star Games…McCann is the fifth catcher to win the award, joining Gary Carter (1981, 1984), Terry Steinbach (1988), Mike Piazza (1996) and Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1997)…This was the AL’s lowest hit total since 1999 when they also collected six hits.