NEW YORK — Yoenis Cespedes certainly made his mark at the All-Star game — and he's not even on the roster.
Actually, it was a dent.
Oakland's second-year slugger won baseball's Home Run Derby with a dazzling display of power Monday night, becoming the first player left out of the Midsummer Classic to take home the crown.
Cespedes beat Bryce Harper 9-8 in the final round at reconfigured Citi Field, hitting the decisive drive with five swings to spare. 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," he said through a translator. "That was the key."
Baseball's big boppers took aim at two trucks parked beside the home run apple behind the center-field fence, a popular staple at Mets games dating to their days in Shea Stadium.
With a shiny prize to shoot for, Cespedes dinged the hood on one and elicited a rousing cheer.
Cuban reliever Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds brought Cespedes water and a towel during the first round, and 2010 champion David Ortiz strolled over to offer encouragement and advice.
The Rockettes danced atop the dugouts and did their famous kickline between first-round batters.
"It's far different from in Cuba," Cespedes said. "There might be two people at our games. There's only one photographer, and this is completely different and foreign to me. But I'm very happy to be here."
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 especially 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 .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.
|Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply||4||FINAL|
|NY Mets - WP: C. Torres||5|
|Pittsburgh||3||Top 6th Inning|
|Chicago||67||4th Qtr 11:41|
|Sacramento||86||4th Qtr 12:00|
|Utah||64||3rd Qtr 0:12|
|Toronto||73||4th Qtr 9:33|
|Boston||46||2nd Qtr 3:45|
|Detroit||36||2nd Qtr 5:43|
|LA Lakers||31||2nd Qtr 4:15|
|Phoenix||27||2nd Qtr 8:03|
|Denver||13||1st Qtr 6:39|
|Buffalo||2||2nd Prd 10:39|
|Calgary||2||2nd Prd 8:16|
|Edmonton||0||1st Prd 15:06|
|Miss Valley St||75|
|Northern Ill||43||2nd Half 7:32|
|Bowling Green||59||2nd Half 7:21|
|Brown||65||2nd Half 3:06|
|Toledo||51||2nd Half 4:55|
|Akron||62||2nd Half 4:59|
|Ill-Chicago||62||2nd Half 1:46|
|Columbia||32||2nd Half 3:53|
|Cornell||51||2nd Half 1:35|
|Central Mich||47||2nd Half 6:02|
|Bradley||41||2nd Half 4:02|
|Morehead State||37||2nd Half 18:21|
|Yale||22||1st Half 0:41|
|Furman||8||1st Half 13:48|
|Coll of Charleston||0||1st Half 18:10|
|Texas Tech||8:00 PM|
|Loyola Marymount||10:30 PM|
|(21) George Washington||77|
|(3) South Carolina||58|
|East Tenn St||66|
|(2) Notre Dame||77|
|(9) Arizona State||67|
|Miss Valley St||51|
|(18) Texas A&M||65||FINAL|
|(7) Florida State||82|
|(20) Fla Gulf Coast||74|
|Rhode Island||51||2nd Half 0:40|
|Kennesaw St||47||2nd Half 2:53|
|USC Upstate||36||2nd Half 4:00|
|Nebraska||52||2nd Half 3:36|
|Colgate||38||2nd Half 0:20|
|Georgia||36||2nd Half 1:50|
|Penn||50||2nd Half 0:04|
|Kansas||49||2nd Half 2:12|
|(15) North Carolina||16||1st Half 7:09|
|San Jose St||53||2nd Half|
|Houston||0||1st Half 16:41|
|Utah State||8:00 PM|
|(8) Oregon State|
|New Mexico||8:00 PM|
|(12) Kentucky||8:25 PM|
|(11) Miss State|
|San Diego State||8:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||8:30 PM|
|Boise State||9:00 PM|
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