MLB All-Star Game Live Blog: Justin Verlander’s Struggles Open Door for Third Straight NL Victory

MLB All-Star Game Live Blog: Justin Verlander's Struggles Open Door for Third Straight NL VictoryFinal, 8-0 NL: Well, the All-Star game just seems to be a streaky sort of thing. The National League wraps up its third straight win over the AL with Papelbon closing it out, meaning the Senior Circuit has dibs on playing Game 1 of the World Series at home again.

The American League had ripped off seven straight wins from 2003 to 2009, but the recent decade has been entirely NL.

Matt Cain will pick up the win with Justin Verlander taking the loss, and Chipper Jones’ pregame pep talk appears to have done the trick for his teammates. Pablo Sandoval’s triple looms large in this one (as does the man himself), but Melky Cabrera’s big game and hometown appeal seems to leave him as the night’s MVP choice.

11:14 p.m.: Hanrahan is looking dangerous after throwing two straight pitches to the backstop. Luckily, he strikes out Butler and that’s it for him. Jonathan Papelbon’s on for the final out.

11:11 p.m.: Make a wish.

11:08 p.m.: Of course, Tony La Russa is going to drag this out as long as possible.

Wade Miley was out to get the first out of the inning, and Terry Collins is out to make a pitching change for the NL to bring in Joel Hanrahan to face Billy Butler.

Mid 9th, NL 8-0: Nice play by Elvis Andrus to show off his arm while playing out of position at third, but defense is not what the AL needs right now.

They need runs — eight of them, at least — or else they are looking at ceding home-field advantage to the National League for a third straight year.

End 8th, NL 8-0: Aroldis Chapman walked Mike Trout, and Trout took second on defensive indifference. Trumbo followed with a strikeout and we’ve got six outs to go.

The Cincinatti Reds closer has had a pretty tumultuous season, but anybody who can throw 100 mph is not going to go for very long without making headlines in some manner.

10:46 p.m.: It’s going to take a miracle for the AL to come back in this one, but quite frankly they don’t really seem to care that much.

Craig Kimbrel struck out two, but then Tony La Russa decided that he’s not darn well going to sit through an entire game without making a visit to the mound, so he’s off to summon Aroldis Chapman to get this last out of the eighth.

Mid 8th, 8-0 NL: Your “Jose Altuves” is short joke goes here.

The Astros’ 5-foot-5 second baseman grounded out to second base on a bang-bang throw, where replays showed he was probably actually maybe safe, but who cares this game is out of reach.

Jim Johnson, the Orioles closer, set down the side in order and sources indicate they will not be playing Sweet Caroline at Kauffman Stadium.

End 7th, 8-0 NL: A couple of Orioles follow up Butler, and Matt Wieters sends one to the warning track, but the American League is still looking for its first run of the game.

10:30 p.m.: Billy Butler was greeted at the plate with chants of “Bil-ly But-ler,” yet that isn’t much help against Cole Hamels.

Hamels, who is more likely to find himself pitching for the AL in the World Series than he does with the Phillies, gets Butler to ground out to third despite the thunderous applause from the crowd.

Mid 7th, 8-0 NL: Bryce Harper goes down looking against Ryan Cook, and his up-and-down game continues.

Cook picks up another strikeout against David Wright, and we’ve reached “God Bless America” and the seventh inning stretch.

End 6th, 8-0 NL: Mike Trout is hijacking the R.A. Dickey show. The Angels’ youngster singled to lead off the inning, then stole second on the first pitch to Mark Trumbo.

Dickey struck out Trumbo, then hit Paul Konerko and got Miguel Cabrera to ground into a double play, so things are certainly not boring with him on the mound.

Mid 6th, 8-0 NL: Chipper is stranded at second and it’s R.A. Dickey time.

10:02 p.m.: Nice moment as Chipper Jones singles to right in what could be his final All-Star at-bat. He received a standing O from the crowd to lead off the sixth inning.

End 5th, 8-0 NL: David Ortiz was nearly killed by an Ian Kinsler line drive while leading off third base in foul territory, but survives to play another day. Bryce Harper ends up redeeming himself by using two hands on a fly ball to left to end the inning.

The AL leaves the bases loaded, Clayton Kershaw escapes a jam.

9:55 p.m.: Ron Washington stuck to his guns longer than expected.

The Rangers manager waited until the third time through the order to make any changes, which means David Ortiz got to bat again despite his stated preference to only get one at-bat.

Papi was booed a little bit, too, since the K.C. faithful want to see Billy Butler play. The decision did pay off, however, with Papi singling to left field.

Mike Napoli caught a break when Bryce Harper whiffed on a fly ball to left, seemingly losing it in the twilight sky. Obviously, it was ruled a hit, since as we mentioned earlier it is near-impossible to get charged with an error in the All-Star Game. Now the AL has the bases loaded and Ian Kinsler has got a chance to make things interesting.

Mid 5th, 8-0 NL: Bryce Harper had an exciting inning while making his All-Star debut.

With Jared Weaver on the mound, he walked, then tagged up on a fly ball to deep left that might have been interesting if Derek Jeter didn’t cut the throw off without trying to get him out at second. Then, he was caught in a pickle and tagged out trying to advance on a ground ball back to Weaver.

9:40 p.m.: Justin Verlander might be excused from his bad start. After all, if reports are to be believed, he spent this weekend entertaining Kate Upton.

End 4th, 8-0 NL: Still no sign of R.A. Dickey, who is really the only thing the American League has left to look forward to.

They’ve broken out the rally caps in the AL dugout, led by CC Sabathia. Seems a bit early, but you never know.

Ryan Braun made a nice running catch to rob his old teammate Prince Fielder and the NL continues to hold onto a dominant lead.

9:25 p.m.: I’m not really sure what to make of that last moment we just saw on replay. As Melky Cabrera rounded the bases, he held out his hand for a high-five from former teammate Robinson Cano. Cano wanted nothing to do with him, and left him hanging.

I always thought those two were inseparable when they were in New York together, so I’m not sure if they had a falling-out after Melky was traded or just if Cano was pulling his old friend’s leg. Hmmm.

In an unrelated note, the NESN production crew usually orders dinner for everybody on Tuesday nights. With no Red Sox game, however, we the website staff have been forced to fend for ourselves in order to eat. We ordered Chinese food, in case you were curious, and it is delicious.

Mid 4th, 8-0 NL: Matt Harrison is pitching now, and was going well until things got away from him a bit with two outs.

Rafael Furcal tripled and Matt Holliday came through with a pinch-hit single out of the leadoff spot. That makes him the first sub tonight for hitters.

Melky Cabrera followed that up with a bomb to left to make it 8-0, rubbing salt in the wound of the Kansas City fans who would probably like to see him still in a Kansas City jersey this year.

Ryan Braun hit another triple — the third of this game — but was stranded there.

End 3rd, 5-0 NL: Things not looking good here for the AL faithful. So far, a leadoff single by Jeter is the only hit the lineup has managed through three innings, and the NL pitching is on a roll.

Gonzalez went 1-2-3, ending the inning with a Jeter groundout, meaning that the Red Sox — or any other AL team — should probably start packing their bags to start this year’s Fall Classic on the road.

9:15 p.m.: Cool note that MLB is really killing it on social media tonight. They’ve already had more tweets about the game in this one’s first inning than they did for all of last year’s game.

Mid 3rd, 5-0 NL: One-two-three for David Price, and we’re still waiting on a position player to get swapped out.

Matt Cain’s night is done after two shutout innings, and Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez is coming in. R.A. Dickey will probably pitch the fourth inning.

End 2nd, 5-0 NL: Well, so much for Big Papi swinging the momentum in this one. Papi showed bunt on the first pitch before getting under the second one to lift a lazy fly ball to deep left field.

Matt Cain continues to cruise with no sign of slowing down, while David Price prepares to become the third pitcher for the AL.

Mid 2nd, 5-0 NL The second time through the order didn’t go as well for the Senior Circuit.

Joe Nathan shut down the side in order, thanks in large part to an awesome sliding catch from Jose Bautista to rob Braun.

David Ortiz is due up this inning for the AL in what’s likely to be his only at-bat,

End 1st, 5-0 NL: Josh Hamilton put a charge into the crowd, but all he got was to the warning track. The rest of the AL lineup went down quietly, too, with Cano popping up and Jose Bautista striking out swinging.

Maybe Matt Cain did deserve to start, after all.

Joe Nathan’s coming in to pitch, closing the book on Verlander.

8:41 p.m.: Pablo Sandoval isn’t in this game for his defense.

On a chopper to third, the Kung Fu Panda whiffed on the ball, allowing Rafael Furcal to field it instead from behind him. The throw was too late, however, and Derek Jeter is on with a leadoff hit.

It’s going to be very hard to find anything scored an error tonight, apparently.

Mid 1st, 5-0 NL:>What happened to Justin Verlander?

Last year’s MVP did not have it at all tonight after surrendering five runs in the top of the inning.

After Carlos Gonzalez struck out swinging (and lost his bat in the process), the National League got going. Melky Cabrera singled to left and Ryan Braun followed up with a double to right. After a couple of walks, Pablo Sandoval tripled to right field with the bases loaded and the AL is behind the eight ball.

Verlander touched 100 mph a couple of times throughout the inning, but also walked two batters before getting hit hard and spotting the National League a good head start. Considering his high pitch count already, we probably won’t see him any more tonight.

8:19 p.m.: The first pitch is a strike right down the middle. And here we go.

8:15 p.m.: You’re probably wondering what the starting lineups look like. Here they are.

American League

Derek Jeter, SS
Robinson Cano, 2B
Josh Hamilton, LF
Jose Bautista, RF
Prince Fielder, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, C
Curtis Granderson, CF

National League

Carlos Gonzalez, DH
Melky Cabrera, CF
Ryan Braun, LF
Joey Votto, 1B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Buster Posey, C
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Dan Uggla, 2B
Rafael Furcal, SS

Justin Verlander takes the mound for the American League, and the NL counters with Matt Cain.

8:05 p.m.: Former Royals outfielders Carlos Beltran and Melky Cabrera get huge ovations, too.

Robinson Cano was crushed by the crowd, but laughed about it on his way out of the dugout.

David Ortiz, all on his lonesome for the Red Sox in Kansas City, received a nice ovation, but nothing special.

8:00 p.m.: R.A. Dickey gets the loudest cheers from the crowd, perhaps an indication they think Tony La Russa screwed up and should have started the Mets ace instead of Matt Cain.

I wrote about this yesterday, but it’s nice to see I’m not the only one upset with La Russa. Then again, I’m not the one who has to try to catch any knuckleballs.

To no surprise, Billy Butler and coach Ned Yost (both Royals) get the largest cheers while all the AL Central rivals Miguel Cabrera and Chris Perez are booed lustily.

7:40 p.m.: Someone named Phillip Phillips is singing a song that definitely should have been a Mumford & Sons track, but all I can think about is what a terrible sense of humor his parents have.

7:35 p.m.: And we’re off. The Erin Andrews Era at FOX Sports is underway, for what it’s worth.

She just interviewed Chipper Jones and Mike Trout. Trout grew up watching Chipper play and Chipper is playing in his last All-Star Game and now Joe Buck is talking about Kansas City music and hopefully all the cliches are out of the way by now.

7:15 p.m.: Man, Kansas City really hates Robinson Cano.

In retaliation for not picking Billy Butler to his Home Run Derby roster, the K.C. faithful booed Cano mercilessly and cheered as he hit zero home runs last night.

With their bloodlust still unquenced, the fans have continued to pile on today, with reports of planes flying over the ballpark with anti-Cano messages.

Are there any bridges in Missouri? Maybe someone needs to build one so these people can get over it.

5:35 p.m.: If you want to see Big Papi bat, you better tune in on time.

David Ortiz is saying that he plans to only get one at-bat in the game, after which he plans to sub out in favor of Royals DH Billy Butler, the hometown favorite.

Normally, you wouldn’t blame Papi for stepping aside and letting the Royals’ lone All-Star get some burn, but considering the game will dictate whether or not Game 1 of the World Series opens with a designated hitter… let’s hope Papi makes the most of his lone at-bat.

8 a.m. ET: This time, it still counts.

The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star game gets underway from Kauffman Stadium tonight in Kansas City, where the National League will try to keep their two-year winning streak alive and keep home field advantage in the World Series for one more season.

Last year, Prince Fielder took home MVP honors for the NL All-Stars after launching a three-run home run off Cliff Lee to propel the Senior Circuit to a 5-1 victory. The lone run for the AL came on an Adrian Gonzalez home run, but Gonzo won’t be present this year.

David Ortiz is the lone participant for the Red Sox, batting seventh and playing designated hitter. Justin Verlander gets the start for the American League while Papi may get a shot at facing Matt Cain, who will start for the NL.

The game is scheduled for a 8:15 p.m. start, but make sure to check back throughout the day for updates on all of the All-Star festivities.

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