Nats factor into National League victory in All-Star Game (updated)

Could we have Game 1 of the World Series in the nation’s capital?

The National League All-Star team is helping do its part to at least make that a possibility.

The NL squad is dominating the American League All-Stars tonight, and has an 8-0 lead.

Three San Francisco Giants have played a major factor in the lopsided score. Pablo Sandoval ripped a bases-clearing triple in the first inning, Melky Cabrera crushed a two-run homer in the fourth and starter Matt Cain pitched two scoreless innings.

The Nationals’ contingent has played a part in things, as well, as Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg each delivered a scoreless frame in relief of Cain.

Gonzalez worked the third inning and retired the side in order, throwing 11 pitches. He struck out Mike Napoli swinging on a nasty curveball and also retired Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter.

Strasburg came in for the fourth and also pitched a scoreless frame, although his wasn’t as dominating an effort as Gonzalez’s. Strasburg allowed a hard-hit single to Miguel Cabrera, got a double play on another well-struck groundball by Josh Hamilton, and after a walk, benefited from a nice Ryan Braun running catch on a Prince Fielder line drive in order to get out of the inning.

The third and final National in Kansas City - Bryce Harper - then came into the game in the fifth. He has had a bit of an up-and-down evening. The 19-year-old drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch from Jered Weaver in the fifth, lost a fly ball in the sky in the bottom of the inning and then struck out looking in the seventh.

He’s flashing some sweet gold cleats on the big stage tonight, and while it hasn’t been all positive for Harper, little has gone wrong for the National League team as a whole.

And because “this one counts,” the Nationals could benefit (they hope) from tonight’s effort.

Update: It’s an 8-0 final. A National League will have home-field advantage in the World Series.

It’s now up to the Nats to get there.

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