All Star Game was a Bust

The 2012 MLB All-Star game was a total bust with the American League failing to cross the plate a single time. The 8-0 routing should be a huge embarrassment to the American League.

One league has more money to throw around, better hitters, better pitchers, better teams and a nearly decade-long streak of dominance in interleague play.

The other just won the All-Star game for the third year in a row. So much for inferiority complexes.

"You've got to tip your hat to the National League again," American League manager Ron Washington said.

He's just hoping Tuesday night's 8-0 beating wasn't another omen. The NL wins in the 2010 and 2011 Midsummer Classics locked up home-field advantage in the World Series for the Giants and Cardinals. Both went on to beat Washington's Texas Rangers in the fall.

"They came out, swung the bats, and once they got the lead, started bringing those arms in …" Washington added glumly, "and they got the job done."

With hindsight it's a lot easier to argue why one team of millionaires appeared more motivated than the other in an exhibition game only a few players on either side were wild about attending.

The four San Francisco starters who played important roles in helping the NL crack the game open early arrived in Kansas City a few days ago trailed by echoes their fans had stuffed the ballot box – which they apparently had. If that bothered Pablo Sandoval or Melky Cabrera, neither let on. Giants catcher Buster Posey arrived as the NL's all-time leading vote-getter and tried not to act embarrassed. Right-hander Matt Cain, whose 10 first-half wins included a perfect game and made him a plenty legitimate choice to start, had to dodge questions about why NL manager Tony La Russa chose him over the Mets' R.A. Dickey.

And then there was Milwaukee's Ryan Braun. The NL's reigning MVP is on something resembling a "vindication tour." Coming off a career year in 2011, the 28-year-old Braun spent much of the offseason defending himself – first after testing positive for a banned substance and then, after his suspension was overturned, against the charge that he beat the rap on a technicality. Asked ahead of the game whether his explosive first-half performance was proof that performance-enhancers played no part in his climb, Braun coolly answered yes. Then he went out and played like an All-Star yet again. He doubled, tripled and turned in a pair of nifty defensive plays, including one against former teammate Prince Fielder.

While Cain was stifling an AL lineup that resembled the first round of a fantasy draft, Braun and his Giants teammates collected five runs off AL starter Justin Verlander in the first, then put the game effectively out of reach in the fourth – with some assistance from Cardinals Rafael Furcal and Matt Holliday – by pounding Matt Harrison for another three runs.

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