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Puig still has last chance to become MLB All-Star

(Reuters) - The Orioles, Cardinals and Tigers led Major League Baseball's All-Star selections announced on Saturday, while Cuban rookie sensation Yasiel Puig has a chance to join the big names despite having played just 30 games.

Baltimore, locked in a tight American League (AL) East race, boast three starters, including slugger Chris Davis, while AL Central leading Detroit have six players on the team.

National League Central contenders St Louis Cardinals have five representatives in the game, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, making a promising start atop the NL Central in hopes of snapping a 20-year playoffs drought, have put four players on the Midsummer Classic team for the first time since 1981.

While such luminaries as Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and three-time batting champion Joe Mauer of the Twins feature among AL starters opposite NLers such as Joey Votto of the Reds and David Wright of the home park Mets, the suspense surrounding Puig has created a big buzz.

The powerfully built, blazing fast 22-year-old Puig, who has ignited the Los Angeles Dodgers' surge in the NL West since he appeared on the scene, is on the list of final-vote players that have one last shot at making the All-Star roster.

Puig is competing with team mate Adrian Gonzalez, Ian Desmond of the Nationals, Freddie Freeman of the Braves and Hunter Pence of the World Series champion Giants for the last NL berth in final voting by fans through Thursday.

The last AL spot is between relievers Joaquin Benoit of the Tigers, David Robertson of the Yankees, Boston's Koji Uehara, Steve Delabar of the Blue Jays and Tanner Scheppers of Texas.

First baseman Davis, who leads the majors in home runs with 33, will be joined by team mates J.J. Hardy (shortstop) and Adam Jones (outfielder) as AL starters.

LEYLAND'S LINEUP

Rounding out Detroit manager Jim Leyland's AL lineup will be third baseman Cabrera, second baseman Robinson Cano of the Yankees, Twins catcher Mauer, outfielders Mike Trout of the Angels and Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, and designated hitter David Ortiz of the Red Sox.

NL starters include Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and outfielder Carlos Beltran, Reds first baseman Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips, and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Completing Giants manager Bruce Bochy's lineup will be Mets third baseman Wright and Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.

A popular choice as NL starting pitcher would be Mets fireballer Matt Harvey, although Bochy has other top candidates including Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals and Cliff Lee of the Phillies.

Leading choices to start on the mound for AL skipper Leyland include Yu Darvish of the Rangers, Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, and Max Scherzer of the Tigers.

The American League will be trying to snap a three-game losing streak to the National League with the winner earning home-field advantage in the World Series.

The National League has also won the last three World Series after ending their string of 12 defeats to the AL side in the All-Star game.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

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