Andrew McCutchen grounds out to third base during the 83rd MLB All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
By Michael Sanserino Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andrew McCutchen didn't use his best moves on the field or at the plate Tuesday night at the All-Star Game.
He saved them to dance in the dugout -- once to the soulful sounds of James Brown and later to the rhythm of a drum line.
By the time McCutchen got in the game, it was OK for him to two-step. The National League had already walked all over the American League.
When McCutchen took the field in the fifth inning, the NL already had the AL seeing stars en route to a 8-0 victory at Kauffman Stadium. The victory means home-field advantage for whichever team represents the NL in the World Series this season.
McCutchen went 1 for 2 in the game and was never tested in center field in his second career All-Star Game appearance. He replaced Melky Cabrera in center in the bottom of the fifth.
He singled against Chris Sale in the sixth inning, sending a low-flying line drive to left field on a 1-2 count. It was his first hit in an All-Star Game after going 0 for 1 last year in Arizona.
He grounded out to third against Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning.
McCutchen said he felt much more comfortable in his second All-Star trip.
"It's kind of more of a relaxed, kind of laid back kind of atmosphere now than it was the year before," he said. "When you do something more than once, it gets a little more comfortable. The more you do it, the more comfortable it's going to get."
Fellow Pirates representative Joel Hanrahan flirted with an appearance in the fifth inning after Clayton Kershaw loaded the bases with two outs. Hanrahan was warming up in the bullpen in case Kershaw could not get out of the jam, but Ian Kinsler flew out to left field, and Hanrahan returned to his seat.
Hanrahan got into the game with one out and one on in the bottom of the ninth inning to face hometown favorite, Kansas City Royals slugger Billy Butler. Hanrahan got Butler to chase strike three in an eight-pitch strikeout. He also threw a wild pitch to Butler. After the strikeout, Hanrahan was replaced by Jonathan Papelbon.
The NL surged ahead by crushing AL starter Justin Verlander with a five-run first inning, tying an All-Star Game record for most runs in an inning.
The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner allowed four hits -- two singles, a double and a bases-clearing triple by Pablo Sandoval, the heaviest position player on the NL roster. Ryan Braun got the scoring started for the NL with an RBI double, breaking an 0-for-7 slump in his three previous All-Star game appearances.
The NL set an All-Star Game record by hitting three triples. All of them came in the first four innings as the NL grabbed its 8-0 lead.
After Verlander threw 35 pitches in the first, the AL needed 15 combined to get through the second and third as Joe Nathan (eight) and David Price (seven) retired every batter they faced.
The NL added three runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by a two-run homer from Cabrera, as the NL stretched its lead.
Playing in his final All-Star Game, Chipper Jones singled in his lone plate appearance. Kinsler, a second baseman for the Texas Rangers, did not charge on Jones' slow-rolling grounder as it escaped into right field -- perhaps to allow the veteran a hit in his final appearance. Jones has announced he will retire at the end of the season.
Hanrahan said the entire All-Star experience was similar to the one he had last season: exhausting.
"The All-Star Game's not really about rest," he said.
In 2011, he recorded one out -- a strikeout -- while two runners reached base, one by way of hit and another by way of error.
"Last year I was pretty nervous," he said.
He was still plenty busy this year, playing host to dozens of friends and family from his nearby hometown, Des Moines, Iowa, at a party after the game.
Even after the game's final out, the All-Star experience was not over for either Pirates player.
Both have the responsibility to buy souvenirs to bring back to the rest of their teammates -- an obligation they put off until after the game. This year, they couldn't rely on veteran Kevin Correia to pick up the tab.
"We made Correia get it last year," Hanrahan said. "He's got that good credit card."
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