Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All-Star MVP Brian McCann

I am too excited! Not only does he represent my favorite team in baseball, but he's my favorite player!!!

Taking his bat to the Hall of Fame!!

Atlanta Braves' Brian McCann comes up big as National League finally wins All-Star Game
Published: Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 11:20 PM Updated: Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 11:46 PM
The Associated Press The Associated Press
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McCann-0713.jpgAtlanta's Brian McCann delivers three-run double for the National League. (The Associated Press)

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- One key swing by Brian McCann pulled the National League out of the All-Star shadows.

McCann's three-run double in the seventh inning provided the NL all the offense it needed to capture its first Midsummer Classic since 1996 with a 3-1 victory Tuesday night.

In a year of dominant pitching, young starters David Price and Ubaldo Jimenez set the tone -- and got even more help from the tricky shadows. Nearly the entire field at Angel Stadium was bathed in odd patterns of sunlight for a twilight first pitch, creating more awkward swings and misses than usual in baseball's annual talent show.

Even that bouncing Rally Monkey on the big screen in a red AL jersey couldn't change things this time. The National League earns home-field advantage in this year's World Series.

The AL didn't go down without some ninth-inning drama, started by David Ortiz's leadoff single. But Jonathan Broxton sealed it, helped by an alert play from right fielder Marlon Byrd and shaky baserunning by Big Papi.

Ortiz was on first with one out when John Buck hit a blooper that Byrd scooped up and threw to second for a forceout on the slow-moving Boston DH. With Alex Rodriguez standing on the steps in the AL dugout, Ian Kinsler flied out and the NL had its win.

"It felt awesome for us to get the win and break the streak," Broxton said.

Until MVP McCann cleared the bases, Robinson Cano's fifth-inning sacrifice fly stood as the lone run in a game expected to be decided by the loaded pitching staffs on each side. McCann's deep fly ball to the warning track in right gave the NL hope in the fifth. When he made good with that bases-loaded double off Matt Thornton, Atlanta's steady catcher hit second base and pumped his right fist. The three guys who scored headed to the dugout with a renewed swagger.

Cano and his fellow Yankees All-Stars wore black armbands after the death of longtime New York owner George Steinbrenner from a heart attack earlier Tuesday in Tampa, Fla., at age 80. Pictures of The Boss showed on two video screens before a pregame moment of silence, and flags hung at half-staff.

"It's a difficult time, on a great day for baseball, the All-Star game, something everyone looks to," Yankees and AL manager Joe Girardi said. "A great man in baseball passed. He's meant so much to not only this organization, but to the game of baseball, and to all of us personally."

It took the NL 14 years to break through after several close calls. The National League lost the last two 4-3, including that 15-inning affair in 2008 at Yankee Stadium. The two before that were also one-run defeats. In 2002, they tied 7-7.

Phillies chairman Bill Giles had razzed Charlie Manuel that his job was on the line if the NL didn't finally win again.

Jimenez, Colorado's 15-game winner and first-time All-Star, came out of the gate with two scoreless innings. Price -- who at 24 was the youngest All-Star starter since 23-year-old Dwight Gooden of the Mets in 1988 -- matched that. Then came Marlins ace Josh Johnson, two more.

It took until the fifth inning for hitters to start making regular contact, the shadows all but gone aside from a couple of small patches in the outfield. With a first-pitch temperature of 85 degrees, this was a steamy summer night even by Southern California standards.

Neither offense did much to excite a relatively quiet crowd of 45,408. There were noticeable empty seats high in the third deck of right field.

Heath Bell's all-out sprint in from the bullpen to face local favorite Torii Hunter generated some of the only roars all night.

The NL squandered its best early opportunity with runners on the corners and one out in the fifth. Justin Verlander struck out Corey Hart and got McCann on the long fly to right.

Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo put the AL in good position -- men on second and third with no outs -- when he stopped Joe Mauer's comebacker and sailed a routine throw to first high over the head of Adrian Gonzalez.

Evan Longoria scored the go-ahead run, which was unearned.

The NL leads the overall All-Star game series 41-38-2.

By Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Well, since perfect games and no-hitters have become almost common this year, the All-Star Game managed to produce an oddity that really defied the imagination.

The National League actually won an All-Star Game, 3-1, at Angel Stadium, its first victory since 1996. It ends the longest streak without a victory in All-Star history, giving the National League home-field advantage in this year's World Series.

BOX SCORE: National League 3, American League 1
GALLERY: All-Star Game

The NL's previous victory came so long ago, there were only five players in the 1996 All-Star Game that are still playing. Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees were the only two All-Star carryovers.

And it was the first All-Star Game that Yankees captain Derek Jeter has ever lost.

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann made it possible with a two-out, three-run double off Chicago White Sox reliever Matt Thornton. It ended the NL's 13-inning scoreless streak, dating back to the second inning of last year.

The NL, which had lost four consecutive one-run games — surrendering eight runs after the sixth innings — this time made sure the lead stood. Adam Wainwright, Brian Wilson and Jonathan Broxton closed it out with three shutout innings.

The AL's only run was unearned, coming in the fifth inning after reliever Hong-Chih Kuo's throwing error on Joe Mauer set up Robinson Cano's sacrifice fly. Cano and the rest of the Yankees All-Stars wore black armbands on their left sleeves in honor of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner died Tuesday morning of a heart attack at age 80.

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