If the San Francisco Giants win the World Series this year, their fans can say they made an impact.
A pair of Giants wearing fluorescent orange spikes delivered big blows — Pablo Sandoval with a bases-loaded triple and Melky Cabrera with a two-run home run — to lead the National League to an 8-0 rout of the American League on Tuesday night in the All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.
The win ensures the NL champion will have home-field advantage in the World Series. The Giants are just a half-game behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
Aided by an aggressive balloting campaign during the final week of voting at San Francisco's AT&T Park, Sandoval and Cabrera overcame deficits to win the fan voting and gain starting spots in the NL starting lineup along with catcher Buster Posey.
Cabrera, who finished 2-for-3 and scored two runs, was chosen the game's MVP. He was making his first All-Star Game appearance, and it came in the stadium he called home last season before being dealt to the Giants in a November trade.
“I just thank the fans for sending me here because it's been a big thrill,” Cabrera said. “We have great fans, and they sent a lot of us here. I'm glad we could do well and make the fans happy.”
Giants right-hander Matt Cain also started — he was selected by NL manager Tony La Russa — and he got the win by pitching two scoreless innings. Cain allowed one hit and struck out one as he combined with 10 other pitchers on a six-hit shutout.
Sandoval's triple came during a five-run first inning against Detroit's Justin Verlander, last year's AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner. Cabrera took Texas' Matt Harrison deep in a three-run fourth that pushed the NL lead to 8-0.
“We knew we had to be aggressive because Verlander doesn't give up too many runs,” Sandoval said. “He didn't have really great control of his fastball, and that helped. You see him when he's controlling that fastball, and he's almost unhittable.”
Milwaukee's Ryan Braun also had two of the NL's 10 hits, as he doubled and tripled.
Cabrera dropped a one-out single into left-center field against Verlander to start the first and scored when Braun hit a double that one-hopped the right field wall. One out later, St. Louis' Carlos Beltran and Posey walked to load the bases. Sandoval unloaded them by pulling a triple into the right field corner that made it 4-0.
Atlanta's Dan Uggla drove in Sandoval with an infield single to cap the outburst.
Verlander threw one fastball clocked at 101 mph and five more at 100. He admitted he was overthrowing.
“Normally, I don't like to throw that hard right at the start of the game, but this is different because it's for the fans,” Verlander said. “I wanted to put on a show, but unfortunately I couldn't keep the ball down. I still had fun, though, and was honored to have the chance to be the starting pitcher for the American League.”
The NL extended its lead to 8-0 with a three-run fourth against Harrison.
Rafael Furcal lined a two-out triple to right field and scored on a single by Cardinals teammate Matt Holliday. Cabrera followed by lining a two-run home run over the left field fence.
The AL best scoring chance came when it loaded the based in the fifth. However, Texas' Ian Kinsler flied out against the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw to end the inning.
The home team also got a runner to third base with one out in the ninth inning, but Pittsburgh's Joel Hanrahan struck out Kansas City's Billy Butler, and Philadelphia's Jonathan Papelbon got Baltimore's Matt Wieters to fly out to end the game.
NOTES: The five rookies on the two rosters set an All-Star record. Oakland right-hander Ryan Cook, Texas right-hander Yu Darvish and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout were on the AL squad, while the NL had Arizona right-hander Wade Miley and Washington outfielder Bryce Harper. … Harper had an embarrassing moment in the bottom of the fifth when he lost a fly ball by Texas' Mike Napoli in the twilight and it dropped a few feet behind him for a double. … The five-run first tied the NL record for most runs in one inning that was accomplished three times previously, most recently in 2003. … Cabrera was traded for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, who is 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA in 11 starts for the Royals. … The last time the All-Star Game was played in Kansas City was 1973, the year the facility opened. It was known then as Royals Stadium.