Congrats to Nats closer Matt Capps, who earned the win tonight in the 81st annual All-Star game. The National League won for the first time since 1996, beating the American League 3-1 in Anaheim.

Capps closed out the sixth inning with his team down 1-0 and struck out Red Sox slugger David Ortiz looking at an inside sinker. In the top of the seventh, Braves catcher Brian McCann cleared the bases with a double to put the N.L. up 3-1 and put Capps in line for the win.

It was already an emotional week for Capps, who was cut by the Pirates after a poor 2009 season and lost his dad, Mike, to a long illness during the offseason at age 61. Capps has said repeatedly in recent days how hard it’s been to make the All-Star team for the first time and not be able to share that honor with his father. But the 26-year-old probably never expected to figure into the decision in Anaheim – especially since the N.L. used nine different pitchers. It continues a rebound year for Capps, who ranks third in baseball with 23 saves and has a 3.18 ERA. Some of his saves have been absolute high-wire acts. But he seems to thrive in those situations and has helped stabilized a Washington bullpen that was the sport’s worst last season.

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