2012 All-Star Game: First inning

Admit it: You didn't predict Melky Cabrera would be starting and batting second in the All-Star Game, did you?

And he hits a soft one-out single to left field! That's the last time I make a crack about Melky. Joe Buck just recited a story about Alex Rodriguez calling Cabrera a six-tool player, saying the sixth tool is "he's proven he can play in New York." Is this a bad time to point out that Cabrera never had a season with the Yankees where he was a league-average hitter?

Ryan Braun drills a double over the head of right fielder Jose Bautista to score Cabrera and his orange shoes, bringing up a Justin Verlander-Joey Votto showdown, arguably the game's best pitcher versus the game's best hitter. Votto is working the count even in the All-Star Game. It goes 3-1 and Votto fouls off a 99- and 100-mph fastballs, before Verlander drops in a curve. Votto heads to the dugout. That pitch wasn't fair.

Carlos Beltran works a walk. Verlander is up with his fastballs. They're 100-mph fastballs, but they're still up. If Buster Posey comes through here, American League is in danger of digging a huge hole before it even comes to bat. Reminds of All-Star Games when I was a kid and Jim Palmer would get rocked in the first inning.

Posey walks on four pitches. Bases juiced. Would it be wrong if Tony La Russa pinch-hit David Wright here for Pablo Sandoval? Just kidding, Giants fans!

And ... wow. Sandoval just sat on 1-1 curveball and punched it off the wall near the right-field foul pole for a three-run triple. It's 4-0 and somewhere a 10-year-old in Kansas City is probably crying. Or Ron Washington.

Make it 5-0. Derek Jeter can't make his patented jump throw on Dan Uggla's grounder in the hole and Prince Fielder (shockingly!) can't scoop the one-hopper.

Chris Grandstaff, one of my editors and a Tigers fan, nails it: "This is old Verlander. Thinking he has to throw it 99 on every pitch. Lately, seems like he saves that kind of cheese for the eighth inning and actually tries to pitch early on."

Famous bad All-Star starts:

  • Roger Clemens, 2004: Pitching in front of his then-hometown fans in Houston, Clemens gave up six runs in the first, including home runs to Manny Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano. Danny Kolb pitched the second inning for the NL. Thought you'd like to know that.

  • Tom Glavine, 1992: 1.2 innings, nine hits, five runs (four in the first). Gave up seven consecutive singles in the first and only got of the jam by striking out opposing starter Kevin Brown.

  • Jim Palmer, 1978: 2.2 innings, three hits, three runs, four walks. The AL actually rallied to tie this game before the NL scored four runs off Goose Gossage in the eighth inning.

  • Jim Palmer, 1977: 2+ innings, five hits, five runs, three home runs. I told you about Palmer! Joe Morgan and Greg Luzinski homered in the first and then Steve Garvey homered in the third.