July 10, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; American League pitcher Justin Verlander (35) of the Detroit Tigers walks back to the dugout after giving up five runs to the National League during the first inning of the 2012 All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE
If only there were no interleague play, there would be a lot of stories popping up soon about how the National League is returning to dominance. The Senior Circuit won their third consecutive All-Star game in convincing fashion, leaving that 13-year winless streak in the dust.
It all happened thanks to a historic top of the first inning. Pablo Sandoval joined Mel Ott and Willie Mays as the only Giants to triple in an All-Star game, but the Kung Fu Panda's triple was also the only 3-RBI triple in All-Star game history. It also came on a Justin Verlander curveball, a pitch in which batters were 0-for-27 against in regular season play.
Ryan Braun also hit an RBI double in the first inning off Verlander in what was the third time in All-Star Game history that reigning league MVPs faced each other in the Midsummer Classic. By the time the first inning was over, the NL had batted around and led 5-0, the third time in ASG history a pitcher allowed five runs in one inning. That crazy inning saw 290,000 social media comments on the All-Star game, more than the entire 2011 game.
The only AL starter to allow five runs in an All-Star Game was Jim Palmer in 1977, the last time a leadoff hitter hit a home run in the first inning (Joe Morgan). The Rockies' lone All-Star was the leadoff hitter, but he did not figure into the offense. Cargo struck out in the first, then grounded out to first leading off the second before being replaced by Matt Holliday.
Melky Cabrera hit a two run jack in the fourth inning to add to his first inning single to give him MVP honors. Ryan Braun and Rafael Furcal also tripled in the inning, making the 2012 NL team the first one in ASG history with three triples. Their five extra base hits marked the most by an NL team since 1996, when Dante Bichette contributed a double and Ellis Burks a triple.
Matt Cain allowed an infield single to Derek Jeter to leadoff the first but retired the next six men he faced for the win. The eight run difference in score not only had never happened in any All-Star win for the NL, but they had never before even led by as much as eight at any point. Over the last three All-Star games, the National League has held the American League to two runs and 18 hits total over 27 innings.
Here is Alanna Rizzo talking to Justin Verlander before the game about nerves.