Giants' Pablo Sandoval rips a three-run triple in the first inning off Justin Verlander./USA TODAY
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, who hadn't been on a winning All-Star team in 16 years, stood before his National League teammates Tuesday, passionately imploring them to ensure a different outcome.
"I am not going out losing my last one," said Jones, who has announced that he'll retire after the season. "You with me?"
Jones, who might have a managerial future if his speeches have this kind of impact, watched the National League rout the American League 8-0 in its most lopsided victory in All-Star history, in front of 40,933 at Kauffman Stadium.
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"I'll never forget this night," said Jones, who received a thunderous standing ovation in the sixth inning when he stepped into the batter's box and responded with a pinch-hit single. "I was honored that (manager) Tony (La Russa) asked me to say something. I was going to come here even if I didn't make the team. I wanted my four boys to experience this and create a life-long memory."
The NL, which had gone 13 years without beating the AL, has won three in a row for the first time since 1994-96. The NL, with La Russa insisting he had managed his final game, clinched home-field advantage for the World Series, where it had won two consecutive titles.
"I haven't had good luck against the National League in games that mean something," AL manager Ron Washington said.
The NL, which produced a record three triples and hit for the cycle by the fourth inning, suffocated the drama out of the game in the first inning with its five-run outburst against AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander. Verlander, throwing 100 mph, became the third pitcher in All-Star history to surrender at least five runs in one inning or less.
"That's why I don't try to throw 100 mph in the first inning," Verlander said of his regular-season starts. "It doesn't usually work out too well for me. But we're here for the fans. I know they don't want me to throw 90 mph and hit the corners."
The San Francisco Giants, criticized for stuffing the ballot box with four starters in the game, had no reason to apologize. Starter Matt Cain was the winning pitcher, third baseman Pablo Sandoval hit a bases-loaded triple and outfielder Melky Cabrera hit a two-run homer. "They definitely put their bats where everybody's mouths were," Cain said.
It created a nice night for Jones, who had never appeared at Kauffman Stadium in his 19-year career.
"It was an unbelievable experience," Washington Nationals 19-year-old rookie Bryce Harper said. "I'll be able to tell my kids one day I played with Chipper in his last All-Star Game. I'll never forget it."