PHOENIX — Pitching, speed and a little bit of power. The National League is back on top in the All-Star Game, using the formula that worked during its dominating run in the 1970s and '80s.
Prince Fielder hit a three-run homer and Roy Halladay and his relief combined on a six-hitter to lead the NL over the American League 5-1 Tuesday night at Chase Field, giving the senior circuit its first two-game winning streak since the mid 1990s.
The NL claimed homefield advantage in the World Series, its only blemish being a home run by Adrian Gonzalez off Cliff Lee.
"It was great to have the pitching set up the way it was," NL manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's hard to beat great pitching and a three-run homer."
With several big names as no-shows, the AL lost more than the game.
Boston right-hander Josh Beckett warmed up, then bowed out with a sore knee (see 5C). Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera left after hurting a muscle in his side while swinging.
"We are not going to use not having Josh as an excuse," AL manager Ron Washington said. "I think when you look at the ballgame, the bottom line is the National League pitching was outstanding. You know, we ended up giving up one big inning, and they didn't give up any."
Rays outfielder Matt Joyce, a former Armwood High star, entered in leftfield in the sixth inning and went 1-for-2 with a single in the ninth inning.
Another local product, Tyler Clippard of the Nationals and Mitchell High, earned the win after throwing three pitches in a third of an inning. He allowed a single but got out of the third inning when Toronto's Jose Bautista was thrown out trying to score on the play.
Many stars were missing from the game. James Shields of the Rays, Detroit's Justin Verlander, Seattle's Felix Hernandez and many other aces started Sunday and were ineligible. Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez were among those on the disabled list, and Derek Jeter wanted a break. In all, 16 of 84 All-Stars were dropped.
Adrian Beltre. Clayton Kershaw, Jair Jurrjens, Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Heath Bell, Joel Hanrahan and Brian Wilson combined to keep the NL ahead.
Fielder won the MVP award after becoming the first Brewers player to homer in an All-Star Game. The World Series edge could help him later, with Milwaukee and St. Louis tied for the Central lead at the break.
"That was part of the message, how important it was for us and how important the game was: Do it again for the National League champion," Bochy said.
Fielder, son of former All-Star Cecil Fielder, was booed during the home run derby a day earlier by fans angry he didn't select Arizona's Justin Upton.
"I didn't take it personal at all," Fielder said. "I understood it. No hard feelings."
The NL dashed around the bases and stole three bags, all in one inning. Bell showed some speed, too. The reliever provided the image of the night, sprinting in from the bullpen in the eighth inning and tearing up the turf with a slide just short of the mound.
"I think he nailed it," Brian Wilson said. "I don't know if I'd make it. I think I'd slip, ankle, flip, next thing you know, I can't pitch."
In all, the National Leaguers have enjoyed their best run since taking three in a row from 1994-96. They had lost 12 straight games played to a decision before a 3-1 victory last year at Anaheim.
Andre Ethier and Pablo Sandoval also drove in runs for the NL.
Texas' C.J. Wilson, the fourth AL pitcher, took the loss for the team run by his manager, Washington. Halladay retired six straight batters, the first to do that in an All-Star Game since Roger Clemens in 2001.
Gonzalez, who switched leagues in the offseason by going from San Diego to Boston, stepped up in the fourth and lined an 86 mph cutter just to the rightfield side of the swimming pool, where women in bikinis and a man in a Santa Claus outfit were watching.
Gonzalez is 7-for-13 with four extra-base hits against Lee in games that count.