Yoenis Cespedes steals show from All-Stars, beats out Bryce Harper to win Home Run Derby

  • Article by: MIKE FITZPATRICK , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 16, 2013 - 6:55 AM

NEW YORK — The Home Run Derby champion didn't even make the All-Star team.

Yoenis Cespedes won baseball's power-hitting competition with a dazzling display Monday night, becoming the first player left out of the All-Star game to take home the crown. The Oakland Athletics slugger beat Bryce Harper 9-8 in the final round at reconfigured Citi Field, hitting the decisive drive with five swings to spare.

In his second major league season, the outfielder from Cuba flipped his bat aside and raised his left arm in triumph when he sent his 32nd homer of the night some 455 feet to center field, where it caromed off the back wall of the black batter's eye. He was swarmed by the American League All-Stars near the third base line.

"You come for a show in New York. He put on a show," said Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer, set to start for the AL on Tuesday night.

The final addition to the field, Cespedes was the fourth player not selected for the All-Star game to compete in the event.

Right off the bat, he proved he belonged. With family in the stands, Cespedes hit a whopping 17 home runs in the first round — more than any other player managed in their first two trips to the plate.

"I felt that I was getting into a very good rhythm, and that as long as the ball was right over the plate, I felt like I was in a good groove," Cespedes said through a translator. "That was the key."

His first-round outburst was enough to send him straight into the finals, though he added six long balls in round two for good measure. Some of his drives were particularly impressive, too.

Cespedes hit about a half-dozen balls into the upper deck in left, never reached by anyone in a game, and banged another couple of shots off the restaurant windows in the corner just below.

The 27-year-old Cespedes has struggled as a sophomore, batting only .225 with 15 home runs, but hardly anyone in the game doubts his ability.

"This trophy will motivate me so that things continue to go well for me, and I just want to thank the people that believed in me, that thought I could play at this level," he said.

The 20-year-old Harper, wearing shiny gold spikes as his father pitched to him, hammered eight homers in all three rounds. But the Washington Nationals phenom couldn't keep up with Cespedes.

"He's incredible," Harper said. "He's an absolute machine."

Colorado outfielder Michael Cuddyer and Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, who leads the majors with 37 homers, were eliminated in the second round. Davis tied Reggie Jackson (1969) for the AL record before the All-Star break.

"I had a little blister come up second round. It's just one of those things," Davis said. "I usually get one once a year and it just happened to be tonight. It actually popped during a swing. My main concern is obviously not to hurt myself and to hang onto the bat.

"It's something that I've dealt with in my career since I can remember. You've just got to kind of wear it for a couple of days and then it hardens up and you're good to go."

Citi Field opened in 2009 with cavernous dimensions and yielded the fewest home runs in the majors over its first three seasons, according to STATS. But the Mets erected a new fence in front of the old one, dubbed the Great Wall of Flushing, before last season, shaving dimensions by up to 12 feet and lowering the height of the wall from as high as 16 feet to 8 all around.

Since then, the ballpark has ranked closer to the middle of the pack in home runs, 18th out of 30, but it's still no hitter's haven.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close