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Baseball All-Stars Gather for 81st Summer Classic


The best players in Major League Baseball's American and National leagues meet later in Anaheim, California for the 81st annual All-Star Game. The National League will be trying to avoid its eighth-straight loss.

Known as the Mid-Summer Classic, the All-Star Game matches the best players from each league against each other to mark the approximate middle of the baseball season.

In what is expected to be a closely contested match-up, the Colorado Rockies Ubaldo Jiminez has been named the starting pitcher for the National League. Jiminez has been the best pitcher in baseball this season, boasting a 15-1 record with an earned run average of just 2.20. He says the All-Star Game is fun, but he knows he has a purpose.

"I know that everyone is here just to have a good time. But at the same time, shall we say, the priority is to win this game [and] hopefully break the losing streak," he said.

The American League will counter with Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price. He has also been stellar on the mound, compiling a record of 12-4 and an earned run average of 2.42.

The winning team at the All-Star Game wins the home-field advantage during the seven-game World Series baseball championship.

American League manager Joe Girardi of the Yankees says the home-field advantage is a major motivating factor in winning the All-Star Game.

"We were the recipients of home-field advantage last year. And I know it only matters for the World Series, but in our home games during the playoffs we were 7-1. So we understand that that home-field advantage is very important to one American League club this year," said Girardi.

The American League batting order is loaded with power, led by league Most Valuable Player Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins, New York's Robinson Cano and the Texas Rangers' Vladimir Guerrero.

The National League hitters are no slouches with the bat either, with the Cardinals' Albert Pujols, David Wright of the Mets and the Dodgers' Andre Ethier in the lineup.

In a fan-favorite hitting exhibition in the run-up to the All-Star Game, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox won Monday's Home Run Derby. The man nicknamed "Big Papi" smacked 32 home runs, culminating with 11 in the final round to out slug Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who had five homers.

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