As a contender for the National League West crown once again, San Francisco’s all-stars did their part to claim a third straight win for the NL and home field advantage for its pennant winner.
Pablo Sandoval’s rare triple broke open a surprisingly rough first inning for American League starter Justin Verlander, Matt Cain tossed two shutout innings to set the tone for the NL and Melky Cabrera’s two-run homer in the fourth inning all but sealed the 8-0 victory.
Giants catcher Buster Posey also joined the party with a walk and a run scored on a night in which San Francisco’s representatives factored into four of the NL’s five scoring plays.
“Whoever ends up making it to the World Series (from the NL) should thank Giants Nation for their votes,” Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun said after the game, “because all those guys had phenomenal games.”
In the lead-up to the Midsummer Classic, all four Giants faced some form of criticism for their inclusion in the starting lineup.
Sandoval only played 51 games in the first half and was tied for seventh among NL third basemen in home runs (8) and ranked 11th in RBIs (30). Despite a strong first half, Posey ranked behind Phillies backstop Carlos Ruiz in home runs, RBI, batting average and OBP. Cabrera’s .353 average is second among qualifying outfielders but his home run and RBI totals are well behind the league leaders. And Cain narrowly got the starting nod over equally-deserving New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. All three position players were chosen by fan vote and National League manager Tony La Russa tapped Cain as his starter.
But given the chance to shine for their league, all four Giants delivered.
“I didn’t come to win an MVP. That’s just a surprise,” Cabrera said. The same opportunity that Kansas City gave me last year is the same opportunity that San Francisco is giving me every day to showcase my talent. Again, I’m just very thankful for the fans that voted for me to come here.”
So are the fans of the rest of the National League teams with a shot at the postseason.