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Pete Alonso retains title in MLB Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso retains title in MLB Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso danced all the way to his second straight Home Run Derby title, beating Shohei Ohtani, Trey Mancini and Juan Soto on a Monday night of panoramic hits at Coors Field.

The New York Mets first baseman hit 74 total home runs to defeat Mancini 23-22 in Monday’s final round and join Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) and Yoenis Céspedes (2013-14) as the only ones. players to win the event in two consecutive years.

Batting in the second inning, Alonso was down 22-17 after the first two minutes of the final round, then hitting six home runs on six swings during a 28-second span of his final minute.

Mancini, who reappeared this season after receiving cancer treatment, was the sentimental favorite, while Alonso was the liveliest of the eight players who participated in the cannonball festival, who returned this year after a campaign of absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Wearing bats customized in the Mets’ blue and orange colors and matching shoes and gloves, Alonso couldn’t stop shaking his head to the beat of the music from the batter’s box. In a time out, he took the opportunity to harangue the fans.

The 26-year-old Alonso has a chance to match Griffey, who was also crowned in 1994, as the only ones to lift the title of the event three times.

Alonso set a first-round record with 35 home runs, seven more than Josh Hamilton in 2008, in an event held at the original Yankee Stadium, and outplayed Kansas City’s Salvador Pérez, who hit 27. Alonso, in the second inning , beat Juan Soto 16-15 in the second round. The Mets’ longest hitting hitter traveled 514 feet.

Pete Alonso of the New York Mets hits in the second round of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby on Monday, July 12, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

Mancini missed the entire 2020 season while receiving chemotherapy for stage 3 colon cancer, treatment that concluded on September 21 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Baltimore Orioles first baseman reached the All-Star Game with .256 batting, 16 home runs and 55 RBIs. His oncologist, Dr. Nilo Azad, made the ceremonial first pitch at Camden Yards before last Friday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.

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Soto left the 49,048 spectators in disbelief with his 520-foot home run, the longest of the event in the Statcast era. Before Statcast, a tool that measures distance and velocity of shots, the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa is believed to have hit a 524-foot home run that topped Bernie Brewer’s slide in Milwaukee in 2002.

Los Angeles Angels sensation Ohtani got off to a slow start but forced a two-round tiebreaker with Soto before falling 31-28 in the first round.

Both came tied at 22 after regulation time and at 28 after the first tiebreaker. Soto of the Washington Nationals blew the wall on his three swings in the next tiebreaker, while the Japanese grounded in the first and was eliminated. (AP)

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