NL scores 5 in first inning, Chipper gets hit in 8-0 All-Star rout

KANSAS CITY — Chipper Jones’ All-Star game career ended the way it started, with a shutout win for the National League.

The NL stunned Detroit ace Justin Verlander with a five-run first inning Tuesday night and rolled to an 8-0 win over the American League at Kauffman Stadium, the third consecutive All-Star win for the NL after a long period of AL supremacy.

The Braves were well-represented: Dan Uggla had an RBI single in the first inning;  Jones gave a pregame speech to the team and had a pinch-hit single in the sixth, and closer Craig Kimbrel struck out both batters he faced in the eighth.

“Somebody in this clubhouse is going to be real happy to have home-field advantage come October,” said Jones, referring to World Series advantage that goes to the league that wins the All-Star game.

“I was honored that [manager] Tony [La Russa] asked me to say something,” he said of his clubhouse speech, “and I just wanted the guys to know that nothing’s a given, you don’t know when your last one’s going to be. Soak up this opportunity. I quoted the late, great Lou Brown in [the movie] Major League saying, ‘Two’s nice, but three’s a winning streak.’ We’ve won three in a row.”

Pablo Sandoval hit a three-run triple off Verlander and Giants teammate (and ex-Brave) Melky Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and was selected as the game’s MVP.

It was the first All-Star shutout since the NL’s 6-0 win in 1996, when Braves pitcher John Smoltz got the win, Bobby Cox was NL manager, and Jones got a hit and scored a run in his first All-Star game.

“We bookended it with shutouts,” Jones said, referring to wins in his first and last All-Star games. “The guys were ready to play, man.  They came out and jumped on Verlander early. I haven’t seen him that wild in a long time, but we took advantage of some walks. Panda [Sandoval] and Brauny [Ryan Braun] – guys got some big hits.”

Jones got a rousing ovation when he came to bat as a pinch-hitter and hit a groundball through the infield. His familiar “Crazy Train” entrance song played when he strode to the plate, the only player to have his regular at-bat music played for him.

“Chipper was one of the guys that everyone looked up to, especially people that were Braves fans when he was the face of that franchise for the 20 years that he played there,” said Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper, the 19-year-old All-Star phenom. “It was so great to see him get that knock [hit] and be able to get a single for his last All-Star game. It’s so much fun to come out here and just enjoy being able to hang out with him and everybody in this clubhouse.”

Jones’ hit squirted through the right side of the infield beyond the reach of second baseman Ian Kinsler, who’d leaned to his right as the ball was hit, then gone to his left in pursuit. The oldest All-Star ran hard to first base and smiled as he rounded it.

“Because I knew that when I turned around I was going to see [AL All-Stars Derek] Jeter and Adam Dunn on the top step, laughing at me busting it down the line trying to beat that out,” Jones said, chuckling as he explained the baserunning grin. “And true to form, they were giving me guff…. I was trying to run it out all the way.

“I mean, 40 years old legging out an infield hit in the All-Star game – that’s exactly the way I scripted it.”

Jones will finish his career with a .429 average (6-for-14) in All-Star games, and commendations from those who heard his unscripted speech after La Russa asked him Tuesday if he would address the team.

“He did a great job,” Uggla said. “His words were awesome. To hear a guy that’s been where he’s been and done what he’s done, to have him speak to you before an All-Star game, I don’t know what else you could ask for.”

La Russa said, “Elite against elite, I believe is the term he used. When I got up, I said, ‘Whatever he said, that’s how I feel.’ I just co-signed it.”

Uggla drove in the fifth run of the first inning with a two-out infield hit that shortstop Jeter fielded on the back edge of the infield. Jeter made one of his patented leap-and-throw plays, but Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder couldn’t handle the bounce and Uggla was credited with a single.

Uggla, who flied out in his last two at-bats, was selected to the starting lineup in the fan voting and was joined on the NL All-Star team by Jones, Kimbrel and Braves center fielder Michael Bourn, who struck out when he pinch-hit for Jones in the eighth.

Kimbrel came in to start the eighth and needed just seven pitches to strike out Asdrubal Cabrera and Ian Kinsler.

“Wow,” Uggla said of Kimbrel’s power-pitching display. “Dude, he was jacked up, man. He was jacked up.”

Verlander allowed five runs on four hits and two walks in the first inning, while NL starter Matt Cain of the Giants pitched two scoreless innings with one hit and one walk. Eleven pitchers combined on the six-hit shutout against the AL, which has totaled just two runs in the past three All-Star games combined.

“We had some fun out there, man,” Bourn said. “They [NL hitters] were swinging tonight, man. That’s impressive, because your adrenaline’s already rushing in an All-Star game, and they were able to calm it down and go out there and provide a spark. Five runs is hard to get anytime in an All-Star game, and they got it in one inning. Then we tacked on some more after that.”

Braun added an RBI double in the first inning and triple in the fourth for the NL, which broke the All-Star game record with three triples, all in the first four innings.

The AL had a 13-year unbeaten streak in All-Star games until 2010, when Braves catcher Brian McCann’s bases-clearing double in the seventh inning lifted the NL to a 3-1 win at Anaheim and made McCann the game’s MVP. McCann’s franchise-record streak of  All-Star selections in each of his first six full seasons ended this year, but the NL winning streak he started continued.

24 comments Add your comment

Spud

July 10th, 2012
11:32 pm

Chipper will be missed! Glad the NL has a streak going. Kimbrel was lights out! 7 pitches for 2 K’s.

Quack Quack

July 11th, 2012
12:09 am

Awesome game for the National League. As Chipper said, “three games is a streak.” Home field advantage in October will be a plus for the BRAVES!!!

Congrats to Chipper, and nice showing for Braves players tonight.

GO BRAVES!!!

Brandon

July 11th, 2012
12:18 am

Kimbrel was insane. Asdrubal Cabrera looked completely unprepared haha

ACE

July 11th, 2012
12:30 am

It is good to see Chipper getting all the recognition that he deserves. It almost seems taht fans of other teams have more appreciation than the home town folks. It is also good to see one of the braves stars end things the right way. The endings of Glavine, Smoltz and Neikro careers were not the way the players or the fans wanted them to go out. Neikro did get to pitch one final game in Braves uniform.

Yogi Berra

July 11th, 2012
12:56 am

Bourn should have played more. The Braves did great. Chipper is the man! He should stay in baseball with Braves either as Coach, mgr are something. He’s one smart baseball man that we need in the game.

gotigers72

July 11th, 2012
7:38 am

More than happy to see Hoss get the kudos that he deserves! As usual, when the bright lights are on him, he comes through. It is just so amazing that he comes through TIME AFTER TIME, whether it is coming off of the DL to lift the Braves from their 0-4 start this year, to getting a big knock to lift them to a win, to all of those times when he did something to carry them to Ws during a pennant race. Just effin’ amazing. Boy will this team ever miss him AND his leadership after this year. What a ballplayer that dude is. Mr. Clutch. I’m sure gonna miss watching him play.

I remember when Bobby drafted him in 1990 and people questioned him for it. Bobby just said, “He’s our guy”. Was he ever. He and Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, all great faces of this franchise. But for my era of watching the Braves, Chipper was the man. Sad to see him retiring, but I have great memories from when he played in my hometown of Greenville, S.C. [AA ball], to last night’s ASG. And I’m sure he’ll give us some more memories for the remainder of 2012.

And thanks to Tony Larussa for asking Chipper to give that short speech to get the NL players motivated to kick the ALs behind. What could be better to end his career than for the Braves to win it all this year! GO BRAVES!

FSUbrave

July 11th, 2012
8:24 am

now the Braves need to make a trade for a top notch pitcher like Greinke…Come on Wren, send Chipper out on a winning note

tom

July 11th, 2012
8:54 am

too bad Melk-Dud was not able to hit like that for the braves.

mpimentel

July 11th, 2012
9:16 am

Chipper deserve all of that…his kids have to be very proud!

RBrave

July 11th, 2012
9:34 am

I still think the players and managers should vote for the All Star teams , so the best players get chosen not the players in big market areas. They say its a fans game but the fans don’t choose the team in the Spring they don’t have a say who’s on the field. And to be able to vote 25 time is crazy (I did vote 25 times. I still like the All Star game, I don’t care what the talk show guys say. What ones of them says the rest agree, especially the local shows. Ready for big 2 nd half, will miss Simmons. Go Braves!!

Skokie Dog

July 11th, 2012
10:37 am

Reportedly, after the game ended, Ron Washington was heard to say, “Gotta tip your cap to those NL guys tonight. They came to play.”

cowdogit

July 11th, 2012
10:50 am

After seven years of miserable failure, I wonder if Bobby Cox still thinks Roger McDowell is the best pitching coach he has ever worked with. After fourteen division titles, Cox decided without Mazzone the braves would continue their winning ways. Thinking Leo was irrelevant was the dumbest decision Cox ever made, failing to correct this mistake was his second dumbest decision. Cox decided to retire rather than admit he had made such a stupid mistake.

FYI

July 11th, 2012
12:23 pm

Cox didn’t decide the Braves didn’t need Leo. Leo left the Braves for Baltimore because they offered more money, multi-year contract, and the ability to work with his long-term friend. Leo even openly admitted he thought he made a mistake. If Leo was so magical or great, why was the O’s pitching so mediocre when he was there? Guess it’s tough when you don’t have three HOF pitchers.

bruce

July 11th, 2012
12:41 pm

great story Dave… thanks!

cowdogit

July 11th, 2012
1:13 pm

Mazzzone left the braves because he was under paid. When he went to Baltimore he never had time to recruit a good pitching staff. When Leo left the same pitchers failed to win another title. Cox,Smoltz,Glavine and Maddox owe their careers to Mazzone. Mazzone has never received any credit because Cox will Bitch slap anyone that mentions his name.

David O'Brien

July 11th, 2012
1:20 pm

cowdogit: many of your comments are just ridiculous.

Da Mick

July 11th, 2012
2:23 pm

I agree that the honors given Chipper were wonderful and well-deserved. However, in the spirit of making the evening more storybook-like, I fear that the American League second baseman may have given up a little too early on Chipper’s dribbler — to let the old man have his hit during his only AB. To his credit, I think that’s why Chipper was laughing so hard for so long — because he was a bit embarrassed by it, even though the intention was meant well.

Personally, I don’t think a player of Chipper’s caliber needs such an obvious and deliberate ploy to make things “perfect” for him during his last all-star game. Unfortunately, he put a weak swing on that pitch. Reality would have been fine, and would not have changed a thing for me. I would think that Chipper’s sense of self-respect as one of the all time greats was cheapened by having someone cede him a hit that was so obviously questionable. After all, it wasn’t the old-timers game.

Sloan

July 11th, 2012
2:27 pm

Melky Cabrera was MVP? The same Melky that couldn’t hit his way out of a paper bag when he was a Brave? Wow!

KD

July 11th, 2012
2:45 pm

Did anyone notice how EX-BRAVES were on the All-Star rosters ?

KD

July 11th, 2012
2:47 pm

OOPS…Did anyone notice how MANY Ex-Braves were on the All-Star rosters ?

Roger

July 11th, 2012
4:46 pm

Seems like yesterday when Chipper blew a knee out and was injured. He was a young rookie. Sure will be sad not to see that familiar #10 at third base next year. I’ll bet there will be a ceremony retiring #10 sometime next year at Turner field. I’d like to see Chipper’s number up there by #31 (Greg Maddux). Life goes on……

shelbydawkins

July 11th, 2012
5:00 pm

Melky, the Braves would like some of their money back.

bart

July 11th, 2012
5:21 pm

If that were a regular season game Kinsler would have made the play and thrown him out. And what teams have their 2nd baseman play Chipper up the middle – he had a huge hole to hit thru not to mention a pitch on the outer half. But it was close enough to let it slide and it still made a nice All Star moment.

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October 4th, 2012
8:10 pm

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