News

Cespedes defends Home Run Derby title in Minnesota rain

Cespedes defends Home Run Derby title in Minnesota rain

HOME RUN:Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics hoists the championship trophy after winning the 2014 Home Run Derby at Target Field in Minneapolis, July 14. Photo: Reuters/Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Oakland Athletics slugger Yoenis Cespedes brushed off the Minneapolis rain and worked his way through a revamped format to become only the second player to successfully defend baseball’s Home Run Derby title on Monday.

In the prelude to Tuesday’s All Star game, Cuban Cespedes came out top as baseball’s best long-ball hitters put on a display of strength, hand-eye coordination and timing after an hour-long rain delay at Target Field.

Only Seattle’s Ken Griffey Junior (1998-99) had previously won back-to-back titles in the contest, which has kicked off the All Star festivities since the mid 1980s.

This year’s event showcased a new format with five players each from the American and National Leagues competing in the opening round and competitors advancing to head-to-head matchups within their respective league until the final. Cespedes narrowly escaped the first round after he needed a tiebreaker swing-off to beat Oakland team mate Josh Donaldson.

From there, he caught fire as he smashed seven home runs to eliminate Toronto’s Jose Bautista and advance to the final, where he added nine more blasts to overpower Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bautista was the star of the first round where he powered 10 home runs.

This year’s exhibition included some fresh faces, including Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Miami’s young standout, Giancarlo Stanton, who was one of the favorites coming into the showcase.

Stanton reached the semi-final round but lost his form and was defeated by Frazier 1-0.

Puig, the flashy 23-year-old Cuban, could not deliver his usual excitement and failed to record a home run as he made a first-round exit.

Colorado’s Justin Morneau was also cast off in the opening round, but not before he received a rousing round of applause from the fans in Minnesota, where he played from 2003 to 2013.

Earlier in the day, All Star Game managers Mike Matheny (National League) and John Farrell (American League) named their starting lineups for the game.

Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright were named as starting pitchers.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

‘Saved by the Bell’ star headed to trial in alleged Christmas stabbing

Fresh
dustindiamond

The actor who portrayed Screech on the hit '90s show faces multiple charges relating to a bar fight.

in National

Storm death toll rises as Houston remains underwater

Fresh
flood

Torrential rains have killed at least 17 people in Texas and Oklahoma, where floods turned streets into rivers and led to about 1,000 calls for help in the fourth-most populous U.S. city.

in Entertainment

‘Game of Thrones’ star overwhelmed with fame

Fresh
maisiewilliams

One of the hit show's youngest cast members says she is struggling to cope with the fame that comes with her role.

in Sports

Wednesday’s Sports Minute

Fresh
lebronjames

A look at some of the big sports stories making headlines today, Wednesday, May 27.

in Sports

BEST OF: Cavs sweep Hawks to head to NBA Finals

Fresh
13-overlay7

Watch Cleveland win the Eastern Conference Championship through the lens of a high-def slow-motion camera.