KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mike Trout singled on the first All-Star game pitch he saw Tuesday — off a knuckleballer, no less.
The 20-year-old from Millville, N.J., singled off R.A. Dickey, stole a base and later walked, but his performance was one of the lone highlights for the American League in an 8-0 loss to the National League.
Still, it was a special night for Trout, a 2009 Millville High School graduate who was The Press Male Athlete of the Year as a senior.
“I’m going to remember this the rest of my life,” said Trout, an outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels who leads the AL in hitting and stolen bases.
His at-bats Tuesday came against two very different pitchers.
Against the knuckleballer Dickey, whom many thought should have started the game for the NL, Trout singled up the middle on the first pitch. He became the third-youngest player ever to get a hit in the All-Star game, according to FOX, which televised the game.
“I was just trying to see a pitch,” he said.
He then drew a walk against Aroldis Chapman and his 101 mph heat.
Pablo Sandoval and Melky Cabrera turned the game into a Giant blowout.
Flashing their bright-orange spikes and booming bats, the San Francisco sluggers keyed a five-run blitz against Justin Verlander in the first inning that sent the NL to a romp.
Cabrera homered and won the MVP award, and Giants teammate Matt Cain started a strong pitching performance for the NL in its most-lopsided All-Star victory.
Cain combined with Stephen Strasburg, Dickey, Chapman and the rest of a lights-out staff on a six-hitter.
“San Francisco Giants show,” Matt Kemp of the rival Dodgers said during the game.
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.
Chipper Jones singled in his final All-Star at-bat at age 40 as the NL, under retired manager Tony La Russa, once again claimed home-field advantage in the World Series.
Unlike Trout, rookie sensation Bryce Harper had an underwhelming All-Star debut.
Harper, at 19 the youngest position player in All-Star history, had a shaky start when he entered in the fifth. The heralded rookie, wearing shiny gold shoes, didn’t flash a Gold Glove and lost Mike Napoli’s routine fly to left in the lights, allowing it to drop behind him for a single. He then caught Kinsler’s bases-loaded flyball to end the inning, earning cheers from the crowd of 40,933 at Kauffman Stadium, spruced up by a $250 million renovation that was completed three years ago.
Harper did draw a walk and tagged up on a long fly but later got himself hung up in a rundown and tagged out.
The game was pretty much decided a few moments after it started.
Sandoval hit the first bases-loaded triple in All-Star history off Verlander, who couldn’t control his 100 mph heat. Cabrera singled and scored the first run, and then hit a two-run homer against Matt Harrison in a three-run fourth.
“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.”
Cabrera was flanked by his mom as he received his award.
“I was surprised for me, the MVP, but thank you the fans,” he said.
Rafael Furcal also hit a three-bagger, making the NL the first league with three in an All-Star game.
As the All-Stars returned to Kansas City for the first time since 1973, La Russa bid a fond farewell to the national stage in the city where he played for his first major league team.
Having retired after managing St. Louis to last year’s World Series title, La Russa became just the fourth inactive manager to skipper an All-Star team and improved to 4-2.
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. 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.
Jones, retiring at the end of the season, also had one last All-Star moment, pinch hitting in the sixth and singling just past second baseman Ian Kinsler and into right field. Jones chuckled as the ball rolled through.
“Whether you’re 19 or 40, we are all equals here,” Jones said during his pregame speech to the NL.