Prince Gives NL 2nd Straight Win and WS Home Field Advantage
- Created on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 09:38
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Staff and Wire Reports
Daniel Hernandez, an intern who helped save the life of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during the shootings, threw out a ceremonial first pitch along with Joe Garagiola.
Heath Bell sprinted in from the bullpen and slid across the infield grass, tearing up the turf just short of the mound. It was that type of night: The National League never stopped moving.
"I told some guys I wanted to have fun this All-Star game and needed some ideas," Bell said.
The NL had all the good ideas Tuesday night. Prince Fielder hit a three-run homer and Roy Halladay combined with nine relievers on a six-hitter in a 5-1 victory Tuesday night, giving the senior circuit its first two-game winning streak since the mid-1990s.
Brian Wilson got two outs and earned the save, just as he did for the Giants skipper when San Francisco won the championship last November.
The NL claimed home-field advantage in the World Series, its only blemish being Adrian Gonzalez's homer in the fourth off Cliff Lee. Fielder connected in the bottom half of the inning against C.J. Wilson.
With several big names as no-shows, the AL lost more than the game.
Boston right-hander Josh Beckett warmed up, then bowed out because of a sore knee. Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera left after hurting the oblique muscle in his side while swinging.
"We are not going to use not having Josh as an excuse," AL manager Ron Washington said. "I think when you look at the ballgame, the bottom line is the National League pitching was outstanding. You know, we ended up giving up one big inning and they didn't give up any."
Tyler Clippard got the win despite allowing a single to his only batter, Adrian Beltre. Clayton Kershaw, Jair Jurrjens, Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Joel Hanrahan also relieved and combined to keep the NL ahead.
Fielder won the MVP award after becoming the first Brewers player to homer in an All-Star game. The World Series edge could help him later, with Milwaukee and St. Louis tied for the Central lead at the break. A half-hour after the win, the Brewers announced they had acquired former All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez in a trade with the New York Mets.
Fielder, son of former All-Star Cecil Fielder, was booed during the Home Run Derby a day earlier. He was the NL captain for the Derby, and local fans were angry he didn't select Arizona's Justin Upton.
Before a crowd of 47,994 that included Muhammad Ali, this was no desert classic - except for fans of pitching, which has become resurgent as the Steroids Era has receded. Scoring in the first half dropped to its lowest level in 19 years and the major league batting average shrunk to its smallest midseason figure since 1985.
The All-Star homers were the first since J.D. Drew connected at Yankee Stadium three years ago. The AL finished with six hits for the second straight year and its two-year total of two runs is its lowest since 1995-96.
"Just a coincidence," Curtis Granderson said.