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AL all-stars out to 'Crush' NL reps

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NEW YORK -- Baltimore slugger Chris Davis powered past Detroit Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera in the final week to claim the most fan votes in All-Star game balloting, and Washington outfielder Bryce Harper used a final surge to win a spot in the National League's starting lineup.

Right-hander Max Scherzer was one of a major league-best six Tigers chosen for the All-Star game July 16 at Citi Field in New York. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina led the NL fan vote announced Saturday night. He is one of the Cardinals' five All-Stars, tops in the NL.

"I think any time you are getting that recognition not only from your fan base but from everybody across the nation I think it feels good to know that people are watching," Davis said.

Mets young ace Matt Harvey and third baseman David Wright will represent the host team in the 84th All-Star game. Harvey received the most votes among NL pitchers in the player balloting, outpacing the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.

Cuban defector Yasiel Puig wasn't picked -- not yet, at least. The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder with just one breathless month in the big leagues is among five candidates for the final NL spot, with fans able to vote online through Thursday.

'The fact that I went through all the adversity and I'm standing here talking about the All-Star game... it's a privilege'

-- Mariano Rivera

Puig is joined in the final NL five by shortstop Ian Desmond of Washington, first basemen Freddie Freeman of Atlanta, Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and outfielder Hunter Pence of San Francisco.

The American League's five are all relievers: Detroit's Joaquin Benoit, the Yankees' David Robertson, Texas' Tanner Scheppers, Boston's Koji Uehara, and Toronto's Steve Delabar.

The Blue Jays will have at least three representatives at Citi Field.

Right-fielder Jose Bautista, first baseman/designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and relief pitcher Brett Cecil were all named to the American League squad.

In addition, two Toronto natives also made the cut. Joey Votto will represent the Cincinnati Reds for the fourth time in his career while Jesse Crain of the Chicago White Sox was named to the American League team.

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was one of the 68 players selected. The 43-year-old career saves leader will hop across town as part of his retirement tour for a 13th All-Star appearance, second most by a pitcher behind Hall of Famer Warren Spahn, who made 17 teams.

"The fact that I went through all the adversity and I'm standing here talking about the All-Star game... it's a privilege," said Rivera, who has 29 saves this year after missing nearly all of last season with a torn knee ligament.

Davis finished with 8,272,243 fan votes to edge Cabrera, who had 8,013,874, for his first All-Star selection. Davis has 33 homers, seventh best before the break in big league history. He is the second first-time All-Star to lead the voting, joining Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (2001).

The first baseman with the cool nickname of "Crush" is one of three Orioles to be selected by fans, the first time that has happened since Cal Ripken Jr. was one of the picks in 1997.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy and centre fielder Adam Jones will take the field with Davis. Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado was picked as a reserve.

Scherzer is the first pitcher to start a season 13-0 since Roger Clemens in 1986. He was joined from Detroit by first baseman Prince Fielder, shortstop Jhonny Peralta, and outfielder Torii Hunter. Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who will run the AL squad after leading Detroit to the World Series, picked his ace Justin Verlander for the team.

"This is not a simple thing, but I'm proud of it," Leyland said. "We worked hard on it. We're not going to be perfect. I put a lot of time and thought into it. I had a lot of help. It's still not going to make everybody happy. There's going to be guys who should be All-Stars who are left off. That happens every year."

The Athletics' one selection was 40-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon.

Colon is an All-Star for the first time since 2005, when he won the AL Cy Young Award with the Angels. At 11-3 with a 2.73 ERA, Colon is making his third All-Star team. This one comes, though, after he began the season finishing a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

The 20-year-old Harper trailed Justin Upton by several thousand votes, but he homered in his return from the disabled list this week and moved into the lead. Fellow rookie of the year Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels was voted to his first All-Star start, too.

In the NL, where the preseason favourites are trailing their divisions, no players from the three first-place teams were selected by fans as starters. But the Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates, with baseball's best record at 53-32, landed four players on the squad for the first time since 1981: closer Jason Grilli, right-hander Jeff Locke, third baseman Pedro Alvarez, and outfielder Andrew McCutchen.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 7, 2013 B3

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