MLB: Cespedes beats Frazier, repeats as Home Run Derby champ


MINNEAPOLIS — Yoenis Cespedes knew how to pace himself in this rain-delayed home run derby, drawn out further by a new format.

The Oakland Athletics outfielder simply trusted his own strength.

Cespedes became the first repeat winner of the All-Star skills contest in 15 years, powering his way past Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier 9-1 in the final round Monday night.

Ken Griffey Jr. took the title in 1998 and 1999.

With a serious, determined look on his face the whole time, Cespedes finished with 28 homers. That was four fewer than last year, when he beat Washington’s Bryce Harper 9-8 in the final round.

The 28-year-old Cuban even told Athletics teammate Josh Donaldson he was doing this wrong.

“I knew he wasn’t going to win because his mentality was to take the ball out of the stadium, and I told him that is not the way you win this competition,” Cespedes said through an interpreter.

He added: “I’m somebody who’s very conscious of the power that I have. So I don’t need to put more of a swing or more of an effort in order to hit a home run. I just have to look for a good pitch and put a good swing on it, and it usually takes care of it.”

Cespedes saved his best for last, a 452-foot blast to the third deck above left field that officially measured as the longest of the night. A’s third base coach Mike Gallego again pitched to Cespedes, who went deep 32 times in last year’s derby at Citi Field in New York. Gallego’s arm looked nearly out of gas by the final round, which started after 10:30 p.m. local time.

“Maybe next year I’ll put up a better showing at the end,” Frazier said. “Now that I understand, maybe I’ll do a couple of more push-ups.”

Cespedes topped Toronto’s Jose Bautista, and Frazier surprisingly beat Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton in the semifinals.

Bautista and Stanton each earned a bye to the semifinals under the new bracketed format, which gave each player seven outs and pitted the survivors from each side in the final round. Bautista went deep 10 times in the first round, keeping the fans in the second deck above left field on their toes, and Stanton hit six.

That was all for him, though. After a long wait for his next turn, Stanton put up a zero in the semifinals and let Frazier advance with only one.

Oh, but Stanton’s six were beauties.

One landed in the third deck above left field, about a half-dozen rows shy of the very top of the ballpark. Another reached the second deck above the center field batter’s eye, a place never touched by a ball during an actual game here.

Bautista, the AL captain, has 11 home runs in 14 regular-season games here, the most by any visiting player. That’s only one less than Twins cornerstone Joe Mauer, who has played 284 career games at Target Field.

At Target Field, Minneapolis

Home Run Derby

Monday

First Round

American League Tot Long

Jose Bautista, Toronto 10 428

Adam Jones, Baltimore 4 426

Josh Donaldson, Oakland 3 406

Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland 3 418

Brian Dozier, Minnesota 2 372

National League Tot Long

Giancarlo Stanton, Miami 6 430

Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado 4 402

Todd Frazier, Cincinnati 2 427

Justin Morneau, Colorado 2 409

Yasiel Puig, L.A. Dodgers 0 000

Swing Off

American League

Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland 2

Josh Donaldson, Oakland 1

National League

Todd Frazier, Cincinnati 1

Justin Morneau, Colorado 0

Second round

American League Tot Long

Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland 9 422

Adam Jones, Baltimore 3 418

National League Tot Long

Todd Frazier, Cincinnati 6 417

Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado 2 419

Semifinals

American League Tot Long

Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland 7 447

Jose Bautista, Toronto 4 424

National League Tot Long

Todd Frazier, Cincinnati 1 365

Giancarlo Stanton, Miami 0 000

Finals tot long

Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland 9 452

Todd Frazier, Cincinnati 1 393

ALL-STAR GAME LINEUPS

Tuesday

National League

Andrew McCutchen cf Pittsburgh

Yasiel Puig rf L.A. Dodgers

Troy Tulowitzki ss Colorado

Paul Goldschmidt 1b Arizona

Giancarlo Stanton dh Miami

Aramis Ramirez 3b Milwaukee

Chase Utley 2b Philadelphia

Jonathan Lucroy c Milwaukee

Carlos Gomez of Milwaukee

Adam Wainwright p St. Louis

American League

Derek Jeter ss N.Y. Yankees

Mike Trout lf L.A. Angeles

Robinson Cano 2b Seattle

Miguel Cabrera 1b Detroit

Jose Bautista rf Toronto

Nelson Cruz dh Baltimore

Adam Jones cf Baltimore

Josh Donaldson 3b Oakland

Salvador Perez c Kansas City

Felix Hernandez p Seattle