- Last Updated: 10:06 AM, July 11, 2012
- Posted: 2:53 AM, July 11, 2012
KANSAS CITY — The Melk Man delivered in All-Star fashion last night. He has become the player the Yankees once hoped he would be back when he wore pinstripes.
Melky Cabrera delivered a single in his first All-Star at-bat in the National League’s five-run first inning, then in the fourth added a two-run home run to be named MVP as the NL destroyed the AL, 8-0 at Kauffman Stadium.
If the Yankees make it to the World Series, it will be that much more difficult a climb because the NL now has home-field advantage, thanks to Cabrera.
“Melky had a wonderful first half,” Derek Jeter said of his ex-teammate. “I’m always pulling for Melky. I enjoyed playing with him. He was a great teammate. I wish him all the best. Just not when he’s playing against us.”
Cabrera leads the majors with 119 hits. He said he wanted to thank the group of San Francisco fans who dress up as “Melk Men’’ at games to celebrate his play.
“I want to say thanks to those six guys,’’ Cabrera said. “That’s part of me as well. The fans in San Francisco have embraced me throughout the year.’’
On his home run, Cabrera tried to give a celebratory hand slap to Robinson Cano. Cano didn’t want any part of it. Cano said if the game was closer he would have congratulated his old friend.
“Melky is a great player,’’ Cano said. “It is good to see him having such success.’’
Cabrera became the first NL player to win MVP honors in his All-Star debut since San Diego’s LaMarr Hoyt in 1985. Cabrera was traded away by the Yankees in December of 2009 to the Braves for Boone Logan and Javier Vazquez.
He struggled with the Braves but had a breakout season with the Royals last season before being traded to the Giants before this season. The Giants have struck gold and Cabrera is a free agent after the season.
“I’ve been very happy with all of the teams that I’ve played for,’’ Cabrera said through a translator. “They all treated me very well, but it’s an executive decision in terms of being traded to another team.’’
Cabrera always has been the playful sort. He said when he rounded the bases, it was Cano who congratulated him, but that was not the case.
“He was very happy for me,’’ Cabrera said of Cano.
David Wright was happy in the winning NL clubhouse.
“It was a great experience,’’ Wright said of his return to the All-Star Game.
The National League has now won three games in a row, outscoring the American League, 16-2 over that span.
“It’s tough to determine which is the better league on one game,’’ Wright said. “But I think we’ve played well the last three years, and it feels good to beat those guys.’’
Could this game help the Mets in October?
“Of course,’’ Wright said. “There are a lot of teams right now thinking this game is going to help them in October and we are one of those teams. Plus it’s a pride thing. When you play the game you play the game to win. Fortunately, we’ve been able to do that.’’
AL starter Justin Verlander was roughed up in the first inning, giving up five runs, three scoring on Pablo Sandoval’s triple. Verlander said he was trying to throw too hard because of the radar gun and because he was trying to put on a show for the fans. He hit 100 mph and heard AL first baseman Prince Fielder, his Tigers teammate, say, “Ver, 101.’’
On the next pitch Verlander hit 101 but “it was a ball, of course,’’ Verlander said. “It would have been nice if I could have gotten some outs.’’
Jeter smiled and said of Verlander, “I’m sure he will be able to bounce back from this outing.’’
As for not having home-field advantage in the World Series, Jeter smiled and said, “I hope I’m there playing Games 1-2-6-7 on the road. If you’re going to win you are going to have to play well on the road.’’