HOMETOWN DARLING—National League’s Pedro Alvarez, of the Pittsburgh Pirates, watches his hit during the MLB All-Star baseball Home Run Derby, on Monday, July 15, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
NEW YORK (AP)—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, 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.
“You come for a show in New York. He put on a show,” said Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer.
The final addition to the field, Cespedes was the fourth player not selected for the All-Star game to compete in the event.
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.
Citi Field opened in 2009 with a cavernous outfield 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. That trimmed dimensions by up to 12 feet and lowered the height of the wall from as high as 16 feet to 8 all around.
But it’s still no hitter’s haven. In fact, hometown favorite David Wright had joked he would take his Derby swings from second base.
Wright and another hometown darling, Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez, were both eliminated in the first round. Alvarez went to high school in New York City and grew up in the same Manhattan neighborhood as Manny Ramirez.
Wright managed five home runs as the sellout crowd of 43,558 chanted “Let’s Go Mets!”
“I ran out of gas,” he said.
Your comments are welcome.
Follow @NewPghCourier on Twitter https://twitter.com/NewPghCourier
Like us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hl
Download our mobile app at http://www.appshopper.com/news/new-pittsburgh-courier