Former Royal Melky Cabrera wins All-Star Game MVP

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Former Kansas City Royal Melky Cabrera took home the MVP award at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game at the park he played in just one year ago.

Cabrera, who the Royals traded to the Giants in November for Jonathan Sanchez, hit a home run and went 2-3, helping the National League to a Giant blowout in the Mid-Summer Classic.

"I didn't come to win an MVP. That's just a surprise," the former Royals outfielder said, his mother and grandmother next to him.

"The same opportunity that Kansas City gave me last year is the same opportunity that San Francisco is giving me every day to showcase my talent."

While a lot of the pre-game attention was on the controversy surrounding Cabrera's former teammate Billy Butler, it was Cabrera's current teammates who stole the show once the first pitch was thrown.

Flashing their bright orange spikes and booming bats, Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval keyed a five-run blitz against Detroit ace Justin Verlander in the first inning.

Cabrera singled and scored the first run, then hit a two-run homer against Matt Harrison in a three-run fourth.

Sandoval hit the first bases-loaded triple in All-Star history off Verlander, who couldn't control his 100 mph heat.

"I don't get many triples," said the slow-footed Sandoval, known as Kung Fu Panda. "We had some fun with that in the dugout."

Giants pitcher Matt Cain got the win in the NL's most-lopsided All-Star victory.

Cain pitched the 22nd perfect game in big league history last month. He didn't have to be perfect in this one, allowing one hit in two innings for the win.

"For those guys to go out and score five runs in the first inning was definitely a little more relaxing for me," he said. "But I still tried to stay focused."

Cain was followed by 10 relievers who combined to throw a six-hitter, with Jonathan Papelbon getting the last out with a runner on third base.

San Francisco fans, who made a late voting push to elect Sandoval and Cabrera to starting spots, might really appreciate the victory come October. The Giants are a half-game behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West.

The NL boosted its advantage to 43-38-2 and won for just the third time in the 10 years the All-Star game has been used to determine home-field advantage in the World Series. National League Manager Tony La Russa's Cardinals benefited from last year's NL All-Star victory, with St. Louis winning Games 6 and 7 at home against Ron Washington's Texas Rangers.

Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun, an All-Star again after his drug suspension was overturned last winter, doubled, tripled and made a fine catch in the outfield to help give the NL its first three-game winning streak in two decades.

Rafael Furcal also hit a three-bagger, making the NL the first league with three in an All-Star game.

La Russa, usually serious and tense after games, was playful after his finale, chanting "Mel-ky! Mel-ky! Mel-ky!" as the MVP walked to the podium.
 

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