Brian McCann was the hero. Yes even Philly fans rejoiced in seeing the rival Braves’ catcher rope a three-run double in the right field corner that gave the National League All-Stars a 3-1 lead in the seventh.
They held on to win by the same score, snapping a 13-game winless streak to the American League, ultimately giving the NL squad in the World Series home field advantage for the first time in over a decade.
What’s special about McCann’s hit and the NL’s win is that it could eventually help the Braves, who sit in first place in the NL East by 4.5 games. In Bobby Cox’s final year as manager, the Braves hope to send off the long-time skipper with a memorable season.
McCann won the game’s MVP honors. He went 1-for-2 with a three-run double in the NL’s first win since 1996. The MVP of that All-Star game was also a catcher of a rival team – Mike Piazza of the New York Mets.
David Wright of the Mets had two hits. Robinson Cano of the Yankees drove in Evan Longoria of the Rays in the fifth to give the AL a 1-0 lead.
It was a game dominated by pitching, something that didn’t surprise me. I was asked today who I thought would win and was asked why. I simply said that the NL’s pitching was much better than the AL’s and it was proved tonight. Only Hong-Chih Kuo of the Dodgers allowed a run, but was unearned. The NL staff recorded eight strike outs on the AL’s best hitters.
Matt Capps of Washington was credited with the win and fittingly, the Yankees’ Phil Hughes was responsible for the loss as he allowed two runs in seventh that were inherited by Matt Thornton of Chicago. Thornton for the losing decision though.
Ryan Howard got the start as the NL’s designated hitter. The left-handed power hitter faced two lefties in his two AB’s, going 0-for-2. In his first at-bat, David Price of Tampa Bay blew a 99 MPH fastball past him for the strike out and then he grounded out to second in his other. Roy Halladay pitched 2/3 of the sixth, allowing two hits and striking out one. If he wasn’t replaced by Capps, he would have earned the victory.