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Broxton secures long-awaited NL win

Broxton secures long-awaited NL win

ANAHEIM -- After a poor start to the ninth inning, Dodgers All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton found his highest gear.

With some help from right fielder Marlon Byrd, Broxton worked around a leadoff single in the top of the ninth Tuesday night at Angel Stadium and earned the save in the National League's 3-1 win, its first since 1996.

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"It's a dream come true," said Broxton, who was selected to his first All-Star Game a year ago but could not pitch because of a toe injury. "We got a lot of great pitchers and for Charlie [Manuel, manager] to pick me to come in at the end is a dream come true, and I just went out there had fun."

After David Ortiz singled, Broxton reared back and threw straight fastballs by Adrian Beltre for the first out. The next batter, John Buck, hit a dinker, but Ortiz, a slow runner, had to hold up between first and second because he wasn't sure the ball would drop. It did, and right fielder Byrd gunned him out at second base, where Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal took the throw.

"I knew he didn't hit it very well and I knew Byrd could have a chance if you just got close enough to where David could not get a very big lead and somehow get it in there fast," Broxton said. "And luckily he did."

An Ian Kinsler flyout ended the game and locked up a streak-breaking win for the NL.

"It felt good," Broxton said. "They told me about three innings before that if we had the lead I was going pitch the ninth."

For two of the Dodgers' four All-Stars, though, the day didn't start well.

Starting center fielder Andre Ethier, batting in the seventh hole, struck out swinging vs. the Yankees' Andy Pettitte on three pitches, the last one well low. The strikeout didn't bother Ethier, even though it was his first All-Star Game. What did take him back, though, was the view he had when he first took the field.

"You look at the field and you look at the names on the back of the guys that are standing in front of you and those hitters that are coming up to bat," Ethier said. "That's a pretty surreal moment when you think that you're starting in an All-Star Game. That's pretty neat."

Ethier saw only three pitches in his second at-bat, too, but this time rifled a single to right on a 1-1 pitch from Justin Verlander in the fifth. With the game scoreless, David Wright couldn't score from second base, stopping at third because of Josh Hamilton's potent arm and how hard the ball was hit.

"Great arm, pretty good throw," Wright said. "I think even if we tried, we're probably out by 10, 12 feet."

Ethier played both center and right field and was removed for pinch-hitter Chris Young of Arizona in the seventh.

Added to the All-Star team on Sunday and untouchable during the regular season, setup man Hong-Chih Kuo was on the hook from the fifth inning until Brian McCann's go-ahead three-run double in the seventh.

Ahead 0-2 on the Rays' Evan Longoria, Kuo threw four straight balls for a leadoff walk. He got Joe Mauer to hit a dribbler near the left side of the mound, but Kuo, who had time to spare, sent the ball soaring over first base, one-hopping the wall along the right-field line, putting runners on second and third.

Kuo said he expected a razzing from his teammates when he rejoins them.

"Just happens," the southpaw said. "Maybe I tried to throw a curveball; it didn't break. It just happened. I didn't really think about it, just tried to get the next out."

"I was running over there and sure enough the ball's bouncing off the wall," Ethier said. "I looked at the replay, it was a pretty good toss. It was a changeup that got away from him or something."

The Yankees' Robinson Cano, who burned the Dodgers with an extra-inning home run in the regular season in June, hit a sacrifice fly to deep left for a 1-0 American League lead. Kuo got the second out on a fielder's choice before being removed.

In his second career All-Star appearance, Furcal came in for starter Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins in the sixth and walked on six pitches against Oakland's Andrew Bailey after McCann's MVP-worthy double.

"We won it in the 13th year," Furcal said of the NL's breakthrough. "I feel so excited."

"You pretty much see on everybody's face, everybody's happy and smiling," Broxton said. "It's pretty awesome."

Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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