The National League All stars scored five runs against American League starter Justin Verlander in the first inning and never looked back, earning an easy 8-0 win in the 83rd All-Star Game on Tuesday night with 40,933 fans packing Kauffman Stadium.
Such a first-inning outpouring of runs happened just once before, in 2004 when the AL scored six runs at Minute Maid Park in Houston. It also matched the NL's biggest inning in All-Star history.
Giants center fielder Melky Cabrera, who played last season for the Royals, won the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award hammering a two-run homer in the fourth inning to go along with a single and run scored in the NL's five run first.
With the win, The National League captures home-field advantage for the World Series for the third year in a row. Kansas City has hosted the all-star game three times (1960, 1973) and the NL all stars have won all three games.
Verlander became only the third pitcher to give up five or more earned runs in one inning or less. The others were Atlee Hammaker of the Giants in 1983 and Sandy Consuegra of the White Sox in 1954.
Matt Cain, the NL hard-throwing right-hander, had much better luck. After a leadoff infield single by Jeter, the Giants' perfect game pitcher breezed through two scoreless innings.
Cabrera's one-out single and Ryan Braun's double off the right-field fence accounted for the first run. Verlander loaded the bases by walking Carlos Beltran on a 3-2 delivery and Buster Posey on four straight pitches.
Pablo Sandoval of the Giants, launched a liner down the right-field line that struck the wall just fair and rolled away from Jose Bautista for a three-run triple.
Sandoval scored on Dan Uggla's infield hit, making it 5-0, quieting the AL-leaning crowd.
Then in the fourth inning, Cardinal Rafael Furcal laced a two-out triple into the right-field corner, and scored on pinch-hitter Matt Holliday's single to right, against Rangers lefty Matt Harrison.. Cabrera lined a home run into the left-field bullpen for two more runs and an 8-0 lead.
Just four innings into the game, NL manager Tony La Russa, in his farewell appearance, had all he needed for victory.
"You just don't usually get an eight-run lead in a big game like this," he said. "It was just lucky, like the other 30 years have been for me."
It wasn't the most lopsided shutout win in All-Star history. That was 12-0 by the AL in 1946 at Boston's Fenway Park.
The AL stirred up some mischief in the fifth inning against Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw by loading the bases on one-out singles by David Ortiz and Mike Napoli (youngest All-Star Bryce Harper lost the ball in left field) and Asdrubal Cabrera's two-out walk. But the promise fizzled as pinch-hitter Ian Kinsler flied out.
Nothing else developed, which meant that AL manager Ron Washington of the Rangers had become just the second pilot in history to lose two consecutive World Series and two consecutive All-Star Games concurrently with the same clubs. The other was the Braves' Bobby Cox.
Billy Butler, the Royals' representative, pinch-hit for David Ortiz in the seventh inning and grounded out to third base against Cole Hamels. Up again in the ninth, he struck out against Joel Hanrahan.
A poignant moment came in the NL sixth when the Braves' Chipper Jones, heading for retirement, made his final All-Star appearance. He grounded a single into right field against lefty Chris Sales.
This was the first game of his career at Kauffman Stadium.
"Unbelievable. I regret not having been given the opportunity to play here before," Jones said. "It is a beautiful venue. I am happy that I got to play here one time before I retire."
The game started with Hall of Famer George Brett, Kansas City's official All-Star Ambassador, tossing the first pitch to Butler, who'd been greeted by a roaring standing ovation.