NL Breaks All-Star Jinx, Beats AL

The National League will finally have homecourt advantage in the World Series this year, thanks to Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann. The 26-year-old five-time All-Star hit a three-run double in the seventh inning to give the National League the lead for good and end a win-less streak that began 14 years ago.

McCann’s three RBIs in the seventh were followed by a superb play in the ninth inning by Marlon Byrd, who threw out a slow-moving David Ortiz after a John Buck blooper. With two outs and Alex Rodriguez waiting on deck, Ian Kinsler flied out for the NL’s first MLB All-Star Game victory since 1996.

Earlier, Robinson Cano of the grieving New York Yankees had given the AL stars a 1-0 lead with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly, which many thought would end up as the lone run in the match that was loaded with good pitchers. However, McCann, who was named All-Star MVP, had other plans. “You dream of moments like this as a kid. It was amazing,” said McCann, who made the All-Star from 2006 to 2008 before eye problems bothered him last year.

The prize for the NL is the home-field advantage in this year’s World Series. NL manager Charlie Manuel of the Philadelphia Phillies said the win was very important. “It’s a big deal. I think home teams play better at home,” said Manuel, whose Phillies have made the last two World Series.

The National League leads the all-time head-to-head match up 41-38, with two ties.