A B-2 bomber thrilled the sellout crowd at Kauffman Stadium as Luke Bryan performed the national anthem during the All-Star Game Tuesday night.
Royals designated Billy Butler, who many Royals fans feel should have been in Monday night's Home Run Derby, drew a nearly minute long ovation from fans before the game. And he drew huge applause and chants as he came up to bat as the American League batted at the bottom of the seventh.
And the villain in this baseball soap opera, Robinson Cano, was again serenaded by boos and chants of "Billy Butler" during pre-game introductions and when he came up to bat.
But by the time of his second at bat, the boos had died down and a few cheers were mixed in when he got a hit because the highlights were few for the American League. The National League roared to an 8-0 start.
The NL players were fired up by a pre-game passionate speech by retiring Atlanta Braves great Chipper Jones. The third baseman vowed not to go a loser in his two-plus-minute speech.
Jones received huge cheers during his pre-game introduction and then fans gave him a standing ovation as he came up to bat. He tipped his cap and then promptly hustled to first base on a single. He smiled at the cameras.
Pablo Sandoval hit the first bases-loaded triple in All-Star Game history.
The portly San Francisco third baseman delivered the big blow during a five-run first inning against Justin Verlander, the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner. Verlander ended up allowing four hits and two walks while throwing 35 pitches in his only inning.
Ryan Braun and Dan Uggla also drove in runs for the NL team during the biggest first inning since 2004, when the AL scored six times off Roger Clemens before his hometown fans in Houston.
The start couldn't have been much better for the National League, which was trying to earn home-field advantage in the World Series for the third straight year.
The reward sure came in handy last season, when the Cardinals rallied to win the final two games against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium to capture their 11th championship. The team with home-field advantage has won three straight World Series, and six of the last nine.
Tony La Russa certainly enjoyed watching his guys circle the bases Tuesday night.
The former Cardinals manager retired after last year's World Series, but was asked to call the shots for the NL team one more time. He had vowed all week to manage the game to win.
New York saxophonist Mike Phillips said he was thrilled to be asked to perform during the All-Star Game. He played a jazzy version of "O, Canada," our neighbors to the north's national anthem. The Canadian flag flew alongside the American and Missouri flags in the outfield.
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