Padres' Caminiti homered in 1996 ASG

9 NL pitchers combined for 6-0 shutout

Padres' Caminiti homered in 1996 ASG

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

Third baseman Ken Caminiti hit the first All-Star Game home run ever by a Padres player in the 1996 game in Philadelphia.

Homers by Caminiti and the Dodgers Mike Piazza -- who hit his second homer in as many All-Star Games -- combined with the seven-hit work of nine pitchers in a 6-0 shutout victory for the National League on July 9, 1996, at Veterans Stadium.

The win was the NL's third straight and 40th overall in the 67-game series.

Caminiti, who would win the NL Most Valuable Player Award in 1996, entered the game in the top of the fifth at third and homered from the left-side off Texas Rangers' right-hander Roger Pavlik leading off the sixth inning.

Caminiti was 1-for-2 in the game. Tony Gwynn was voted into the starting lineup for the ninth time, but missed the game due to injury.

Gwynn was not the only player to miss the 67th All-Star Game due to injury. Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas and Matt Williams were also sidelined.

The NL scored the only run it really needed in the first. Center fielder Lance Johnson of the Mets opened the game with a double off American League starter Charles Nagy of the Cleveland Indians. Johnson advanced to third on a grounder to second by Reds shortstop Barry Larkin and scored on a ground out to first by San Francisco left fielder Barry Bonds.

Piazza led off the second with a homer to left off Nagy. Piazza also homered in his final at-bat of the 1995 All-Star Game. Piazza became the first player to homer in consecutive All-Star Games since Fred Lynn (1979-80) and the first to homer in consecutive at-bats since Gary Carter in 1981.

The National League widened its lead to 3-0 later in the second on a one-out single by Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones off Nagy, a ground out and a run-scoring single by pinch-hitter Henry Rodriguez of Montreal.

Larkin and Bonds opened the third inning with back-to-back singles off Chuck Finley of the California Angels. Larkin scored on Piazza's two-out double.

Piazza, who was raised in nearby Norristown, Pa., and caught the game's ceremonial first pitch from Phillies great Mike Schmidt, was named the All-Star Games Most Valuable Player for having a double and homer in three at-bats for two RBIs.