Panda, Wilson play big roles in All-Star win

National League’s Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants acknowledges the crowd during introductions
for the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix

By Corey Brock

PHOENIX — It was a relatively quiet night at the All-Star Game on Tuesday for the five Giants on the National League roster for the Midsummer Classic.

Pitchers Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong didn’t appear in the game — they can blame their own manager, National League skipper Bruce Bochy, if they like — while Matt Cain, another pitcher, wasn’t eligible to play since he pitched Sunday.

Pablo Sandoval and Brian Wilson had much bigger impacts in the National League’s 5-1 victory before the sold-out crowd at Chase Field.

Sandoval, who officially replaced Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (sore left hamstring) on the roster, went 1-for-1, driving in the NL’s fifth run of the game with a ground-rule double to left field off Seattle’s Brandon League in the seventh inning.

Wilson, who was the Giants’ lone All-Star elected by players, coaches and the managers, got the save by recording the final two outs of the ninth inning.

Wilson had been perfect in two previous All-Star appearances. He retired both batters he faced in 2008 at Yankee Stadium before working a scoreless eighth inning a year ago in Anaheim.

When Lincecum didn’t pitch, it marked the third time in four All-Star Game appearances that he didn’t throw a single pitch in the All-Star Game.

At least Lincecum had company in the dugout with Vogelsong and Cain.

Voegelsong, one of baseball’s best feel-good stories in 2011 after reviving a career that seemed to dead-end and forced him to play in Japan for three seasons, knew that there was real possibility that he wouldn’t pitch. Bochy had indicated Vogelsong would be held in reserve as a long man in case the game went into extra innings.

As for Cain, he already found his mind wandering toward the second half of the season, which begins Thursday with the first of four games in San Diego against the Padres.

The Giants, in their bid to win the National League West for the second time in as many years, enter the second half of the season with a three-game lead over the D-backs. It’s a lead that Cain considers tenuous at best, given the nature of the division.

“I expect it’s going to be like it’s been in years past. … It’s going to be close where you can’t count anyone out.” Cain said. “Look at last year — a lot of teams thought that they were out of it but they weren’t.

“It was pretty cool to have it come down to the end.”

A year ago, the Giants defeated the Padres in the final game of the regular season for the division title. The Giants then went on to beat the Braves and Phillies before defeating the Rangers in the World Series.

See Related: Giants Archive

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