KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Ultimately, Tony La Russa's decision to start Matt Cain over R.A. Dickey in the 83rd All-Star Game was the knuckleball.
More specifically, starting catcher Buster Posey's unfamiliarity with it.
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Dickey had far from a clean inning but he did have a scoreless one, keeping the National League's 8-0 lead intact, a score that would hold as the final as the NL won its third straight Midsummer Classic Tuesday night, securing home field advantage for the 2012 World Series.
"Just being here, in general, has been an incredible apex to an incredible narrative," Dickey said. "I don't really know how to quantify it emotionally. I'm just trying to take it in and soak it in and celebrate it with people that I love and care about it and I've been able to do that so it's been a real fun experience."
Former Yankee and current Giant Melky Cabrera, baseball's hits leader with 119 and a first-time All-Star, earned game MVP honors after hitting a two-run homer and helping fuel the NL's five-run first inning.
The NL hit a record three triples, including one by Pablo Sandoval that brought in three runs off Verlander in the big first.
On his way around second, Cabrera stuck his hand out in the direction of Robinson Cano, one of his best friends when they were teammates, in the attempt of exchanging a high-five. Cano did not extend his hand.
"No, not at all," Cabrera said of if he expected Cano to high-five him. "He congratulated me and told me it was a great home run and that he was really happy for me."
Cano said "we were losing by too many runs," so he wasn't about to high-five anyone.
But he said of his friend, who will be a free agent at season's end: "He's going to get paid."
Cano's two-day experience was tough -- he was booed for two straight days and Monday night said his family was heckled by fans -- though he did single off Stephen Strasburg in the fourth. The other local to get a hit in the game was Derek Jeter, who led off the bottom of the first against Matt Cain with an infield single. Cain retired six straight after Jeter's hit. Curtis Granderson went 0-for-2, as did David Wright.
"They came out, they swung the bats, once they got the lead started bringing those arms in and they got the job done," said AL manager Ron Washington.
Dickey's first challenge was Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout, who singled to start the inning and stole second. "It's tough, it goes everywhere," Trout said of Dickey's knuckleball. "Just got a knuckleball up and I hit it."
Dickey then struck out Mark Trumbo and hit Paul Konerko with a pitch. But he got out of the inning when Miguel Cabrera grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
"He did great," Dickey said of Ruiz. "I didn't really have time, I didn't throw many like super-duper ones, you know? It was much more I wanted to throw strikes and work quickly and I was able to do that and the one I threw to Trumbo that he struck out on was a pretty good one and he handled it like he was catching with chopsticks. It was great."
On the topic of this game deciding home field for the World Series, Jeter smiled. "I hope I'm playing in Games 1, 2, 6 and 7," he said. "I hope I'm complaining about us being on the road."
With David Lennon