KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Giants Melky Cabrera didn't see the All-Star Game as a stage for redemption.
But after being traded in the offseason from Kansas City to San Francisco for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, it turned out be exactly that as he was named MVP for a single that sparked the NL's five-run first inning single and a two-run homer.
"I didn't come to win an MVP," Cabrera said through an interpreter. "That's just a surprise."
Cabrera's overall performance has been something of a surprise, as he leads the majors with 119 hits and has a .353 average. Making it tougher from the Royals' perspective, Sanchez is 1-5, 6.75.
"The same opportunity that Kansas City gave me last year is the same opportunity that San Francisco is giving me every day to showcase my talents."
HAPPY DAYS: Cubs 1B/OF Bryan LaHair was pretty sure he was the player most excited to be at Monday's All-Star media session. Tuesday, getting to play in the game, was even better for the former St. Petersburg College star.
"I'm even happier than (Monday)," LaHair said.
LaHair went in to play defense in the seventh, and batted in the ninth, grounding out against Rays closer Fernando Rodney.
LaHair was among the least likely All-Stars, a 29-year-old who got his first chance this season to play regularly in the majors and got off to such a hot start that he was voted to the All-Star team by the players.
RAYS UPDATE: The Red Sox set their rotation for the weekend series at the Trop, with LHP Franklin Morales facing RHP Jeremy Hellickson on Friday, RHP Clay Buchholz against LHP David Price on Saturday and ace RHP Josh Beckett opposing RHP James Shields on Sunday. … OF Jeff Salazar, who was under consideration for the final roster spot at the end of spring training, was released from Triple-A Durham, where he hit .216 in 68 games. … 3B Evan Longoria is expected to be at tonight's ESPY awards in Los Angeles as the dramatic finish to last season is up for Best Moment honors.
CHILDS PLAY: There were a record five rookies on the rosters — Ryan Cook (A's), Yu Darvish (Rangers), Mike Trout (Angels) for the AL, Bryce Harper (Nationals) and Wade Miley (Diamondbacks) for the NL. … Harper, 19, was the youngest All-Star position player, and third youngest overall, behind Tampa's Dwight Gooden in 1984 and Hall-of-Famer Bob Feller in 1938. He had a rough debut, losing a fly ball in the lights that dropped behind him. … Trout is the first rookie position player to make the AL team since Longoria in 2008.
MISCELLANY: The NL has won three straight for the first time since 1994-96, and leads 43-38-2. … It was the first shutout since the NL's 6-0 win in 1996, and the largest margin of victory since a 13-3 AL win in 1983. … It was the second time a team scored five or more runs in the first inning; the other was 2004. … Atlanta's Chipper Jones, in his final All-Star Game before retiring, singled in his lone at-bat. … The 61 players used were a record for a nine-inning game. … The Kauffman Stadium fans had a roaring ovation for Royals DH Billy Butler, then again booed Yankees 2B Robinson Cano, for leaving Butler out of the Home Run Derby. … Royals legend George Brett threw out the ceremonial first pitch, to Butler.