NL wins again in Mays' final All-Star Game

Bench, Bonds, Davis homer in 7-1 rout

NL wins again in Mays' final All-Star Game

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The National League continued its domination in the 1973 All-Star Game.

But that was only the third-leading story on July 24 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City.

The game was the 40th anniversary of the first All-Star Game and eight surviving players from that inaugural game - Carl Hubbell, Lefty Gomez, Lefty Grove, Charlie Gehringer, Joe Cronin, Jimmie Dykes, Dick Bartell and Bill Hallahan - were on hand.

And Willie Mays, representing the New York Mets, struck out as a pinch-hitter in his 24th and final All-Star Game appearance. Offensively and defensively, Mays was arguably the greatest performer in All-Star Game history. He finished with a career .307 batting average in All-Star Games (23-for-75) with two doubles, three triples and three RBIs.

Mays holds the career All-Star Game records for hits, runs (20), stolen bases (six) and at-bats and shares the record for triples, total bases (40), and extra-base hits (eight).

The American League took a 1-0 lead in the second inning but was quickly overwhelmed in a 7-1 loss as the National League scored a second straight win and a 10th win in 11 years to take a 25-18-1 edge in the series.

Oakland A's right fielder Reggie Jackson opened the second with a double off National League starter Rick Wise of the St. Louis Cardinals and scored immediately on a single by center fielder Amos Otis of the hometown Royals. But that was it offensively for the American League, which got only three more hits, including a second hit by Otis.

Claude Osteen of the Dodgers followed Wise and worked two scoreless innings despite allowing two hits and a walk.

Don Sutton of the Dodgers, Wayne Twitchell of the Philadelphia Phillies, Dave Giusti of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tom Seaver of the Mets and Jim Brewer of the Dodgers all worked a scoreless inning as the American League failed to score over the final seven innings.

Meanwhile, the National League out-hit the American League 10-5 and got home runs from Cincinnati catcher Johnny Bench, San Francisco Giants right fielder Bobby Bonds and Dodgers center fielder Willie Davis.

The National League took the lead in the top of the third against Minnesota Twins right-hander Bert Blyleven. After issuing walks to Atlanta third baseman Darrell Evans and Reds second baseman Joe Morgan, Blyleven gave up back-to-back, RBI singles to Astros center fielder Cesar Cedeno and first baseman Hank Aaron of Atlanta.

The National League added a run in the fourth on Bench's lead-off homer against Bill Singer of the California Angels.

Morgan doubled to lead off the fifth against Singer and scored on Bonds' two-out, two-run homer. Bonds, who had entered the game in the top of the inning as a defensive replacement for Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs, later stretched a single into a double and was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

The National League's final two runs came in the top of the sixth off the Angels' Nolan Ryan. Cubs' third baseman Ron Santo drew a lead-off walk and scored on a two-run homer by Davis, who was pinch-hitting for Sutton.

Closers Sparky Lyle of the Yankees and Rollie Fingers of the A's each pitched a scoreless inning for the American League to finish the game, but the damage had been done.

First baseman Nate Colbert represented the Padres in a second straight All-Star Game and fouled out as a pinch-hitter.