DETROIT — With the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants in the World Series, the All-Star Game played July 10 in Kansas City is quite a topic for conversation.
The Giants earned the National League home-field advantage in the World Series by either driving in or scoring seven of the game’s eight runs. And the pitcher giving up five of those runs in an 8-0 loss for the American League was Justin Verlander of the eventual AL champion Detroit Tigers.
As if that were not enough, Giants ace Matt Cain pitched two scoreless innings as the NL starter and earned the victory at Kauffman Stadium.
It’s unlikely there will ever be another All-Star Game in which the players from the teams destined for the Fall Classic had a bigger role in determining the outcome.
San Francisco center fielder Melky Cabrera, later suspended for testing positive for testosterone, began the first-inning rally off Verlander with a single and scored on a Ryan Braun double. Giants third baseman Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval’s bases-loaded triple was the big hit, and he also scored on a grounder by Dan Uggla.
Cabrera later hit a two-run homer to close out the Giants’ onslaught in K.C.
Verlander gave up five earned runs on four hits and two walks. He also had a strikeout in his one inning of work, then attempted to explain why he decided to be a thrower — going with 100 mph fastballs from the start — rather than a pitcher. He generally throws in the low 90s in the first inning and ramps up to triple-digit velocity.
“I was able to laugh at it right away,” Verlander said after leaving the game. “Obviously, you don’t want to go out like that, but I had fun. That’s why I don’t try to throw 100 (mph) in the first inning, but this is for the fans. It doesn’t usually work out too well for me.
“I know this game means something and you don’t want to give up runs, but we’re here for the fans. I know the fans don’t want to see me throw 90 and try to hit the corners.”
Putting on a show resulted in a disaster that will put Verlander’s team on the road for the first two games of the World Series and, if necessary, Games 6 and 7. He will start Game 1 at either San Francisco or St. Louis.
For what it’s worth, Detroit didn’t have home-field advantage in either the ALDS against the Oakland A’s or the ALCS vs. the New York Yankees. The Tigers won both of those series in large part because of Verlander, who’s 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA this postseason.