for this game

Fielder's HR helps NL down AL for second straight year

Jul 13, 2011 - 5:18 AM Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Princely power has given the National League back-to-back wins at the All-Star Game for the first time since the mid-1990s.

Milwaukee first baseman Prince Fielder hit the go-ahead three-run homer in the fourth inning, helping the NL to a 5-1 triumph over the American League at Chase Field.

One year after breaking a 13-game winless streak, the NL has won back-to-back All-Star Games for the first time since taking three in a row from 1994-96 and will have home-field advantage for the World Series this postseason.

Andre Ethier and Pablo Sandoval knocked in the other runs for the NL, which overcame an early deficit when Boston's Adrian Gonzalez homered off Philadelphia's Cliff Lee in the top of the fourth.

The enjoyment of some of the All-Stars was evident, especially San Diego's Heath Bell, who raced in from the bullpen in the eighth inning and went into a slide before taking the mound in relief of Atlanta's Jonny Venters.

Fielder became the first Brewers player in history to homer in the game and is the first All-Star MVP in franchise history. The last first baseman to be named MVP was in 1994 - Atlanta's Fred McGriff.

"It's real cool," Fielder said during a postgame ceremony for his MVP award. "I'm just happy I was able to be here, glad my kids are here with me too and my wife. It's been a great time."

Pittsburgh's Joel Hanrahan got into a jam in the ninth with men on second and third, partly due to an error from Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, who threw away a grounder from Carlos Quentin. After Matt Joyce singled to right field and advanced due to an error with one out, Giants closer Brian Wilson earned the save by retiring Michael Cuddyer on a fly ball and getting Paul Konerko on a grounder.

Texas lefty C.J. Wilson (0-1) gave up singles to Carlos Beltran and Matt Kemp to start the bottom of the fourth. Fielder, who participated in Monday's Home Run Derby, drilled a 2-2 pitch off the top of the wall in left-center field and over it.

"A couple cutters away and they threw me a two-seamer in, and then fouled it off my foot, that kind of hurt," Fielder said. "And I think I hit another cutter to left-center. Yeah, it was a good at-bat."

That brought out the cheers from the Chase Field crowd, a night after the pro- Diamondbacks fans got on Fielder's case for not choosing Arizona's Justin Upton, an All-Star, for the Home Run Derby.

"It's hard to beat great pitching and a three-run homer," NL manager Bruce Bochy said. "Great at-bat, two strikes, and we are down one run, and you get the Most Valuable Player, which he should, so it's nice to hear the cheers for him."

Fielder was replaced by Cincinnati's Joey Votto in the top of the fifth.

The NL padded their lead to 4-1 against Jordan Walden in the bottom of the inning. Castro, who entered as a pinch-runner, stole two bases, but was thrown out at home by Walden, who made a bare-hand stop of a bouncer from Rickie Weeks before firing to the plate. Weeks stole second and came in on Ethier's pinch-hit single to right field.

The AL had a rally going in the seventh with runners at first and second, but Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel retired the Angels' Howie Kendrick on a ground ball to end the threat.

"The bottom line is the National League pitching was outstanding," AL manager Ron Washington said. "We ended up giving up one big inning, and they didn't give up any. So I think you just have to credit the pitching, not the fact that we didn't have anything."

Sandoval, who has a current 21-game hitting streak for the Giants, then made it a four-run margin in the bottom half. Hunter Pence singled and went to third with one out on a passed ball by Matt Wieters. Sandoval followed with a slicing ground-rule double that bounded over the wall in left field.

Philadelphia's Roy Halladay and the Angels' Jered Weaver were the starting pitchers. Halladay threw 14 of his 19 pitches for strikes over the first two perfect innings. Weaver threw one frame before being replaced by David Robertson for the second.

Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett was set to begin the second inning on the mound for the American League, but was pulled back after experiencing soreness in his left knee.

In the interim, Toronto's Jose Bautista, who leads the majors with 31 homers at the break, had the highlight play early on. Brian McCann led off the second and lifted a fly down the right field line. Bautista made a sliding grab as he collided with the side wall.

Gonzalez, who finished second in the derby to the Yankees' Robinson Cano on Monday, crushed an 0-1 offering from Lee over the wall in right-center field with two outs in the top of the fourth.

Fielder, trying to make an over-the-shoulder catch, dropped Bautista's fly ball down the first base line later in the frame. Josh Hamilton hit a broken- bat single to center, and Lee was replaced by Washington's Tyler Clippard (1-0). Adrian Beltre then singled to left field, but Pence, inserted in left field threw a strike to McCann at home plate. The Atlanta catcher applied the high tag as Bautista went into a slide for the last out.

Game Notes

The homer by Gonzalez ended a streak of 29 consecutive All-Star innings without a long ball. Before the Gonzalez homer, the last home run hit came off the bat of Boston's J.D. Drew in the seventh inning of the 15-inning 2008 All- Star Game at Yankee Stadium...Only the Arizona Diamondbacks have not had a player hit a homer in the All-Star Game...It is the first three-run home run since Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run homer in 2004, and just the fifth three-run shot since 1990, joining Soriano, Barry Bonds (1998), Will Clark (1992) and Cal Ripken, Jr. (1991)...Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera departed the game in the seventh inning with a strained left side...MLB had a moment of silence before the game for victims of the Tucson shooting that killed six people and wounded U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords...The NL leads the all-time series, 42-38-2...The AL has scored just two runs combined in the last two Midsummer Classics. It marks their lowest run output over two games since they scored a combined two runs between the 1995 and 1996 All-Star Games.