A’s Cespedes wins 2nd straight Home Run Derby
MINNEAPOLIS — Yoenis Cespedes successfully defended his All-Star Home Run Derby title Monday night at Target Field.
Hitting off Athletics third base Mike Gallego, Cespedes belted a number of impressive drives, including ones of 452 and 446 feet to second deck in left-center field. His other homers in the final round traveled 409, 420, 396, 377, 380, 422 and 381 feet.
The nine homers averaged 409 feet.
Frazier’s lone home run traveled 393 feet and came off his brother, Charlie.
In a new twist to the derby, the competition went to bracketed play after the first round in which 10 hitters — five from each league — participated. Following the opening round, the last two finishers in each league were eliminated, and the first-place finishers received byes to the semifinals.
In the NL semifinal, Frazier blanked Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton 1-0. That came after Frazier downed Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki 6-2 in the second round.
Cespedes downed Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista 7-4 in the AL semifinal after beating Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones 9-3 in the second round. Bautista hit 10 home runs in the first round, the most of any competitor, but he did not take advantage of his bye into the semis.
Stanton, who has not hit a home run in his last 56 at-bats, led all NL hitters with six home runs in the first round to gain a bye. He hit a 430-foot shot that reached the seats above the batter’s eye in center fielder and a 422-foot blast into the upper deck in left field.
Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, who failed to homer in seven swings, was one of the four players eliminated in the first round, which began an hour late because of rain. Also failing to advance were Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier and Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau.
The flamboyant Puig became the first player to go homerless in the derby since Robinson Cano in 2012. Oddly enough, Jose Cano, Robinson’s father and a former Houston Astros pitcher, threw to Puig.