Yoenis Cespedes claimed the 2014 State Farm Home Run Derby title on Monday night, becoming the second player to ever win the event in consecutive years. The only other player to do that was Ken Griffey Jr.
Last year's champion did not dominate the entire way though, however. Cespedes needed to beat out his teammate, Josh Donaldson, in a swing-off to get out of the first round. Each hit just three home runs in their first round, consisting of seven outs. Cespedes prevailed and went on to take on Adam Jones for the right to play American League captain Jose Bautista, who earned a bye with a round-high of 10.
Cespedes improved on his first round with a very solid number of nine against Jones. The Orioles' outfielder hit just three, which ended his night.
The two American League favorites dueled in the AL final. And the fans in the second deck of Target Field continued to get lots of souvenir opportunities. Cespedes went first and put up another consistent number with seven long balls. Bautista, who was coming off of a near two-hour break, mustered only four after a very impressive first round.
Meanwhile, the unlikely Todd Frazier advanced all the way to the final from the NL. Like Cespedes, Frazier had to advance out of the first round by virtue of a swing-off. And then he defeated Giancarlo Stanton in the final with just one home run. When Frazier ended his round with the single home run it seemed like a formality that Stanton would advance to the finals, but the Miami slugger couldn't hit a single ball over the fence. Stanton awed the crowd with a ball that went about two-thirds of the way up into the third, and final, deck of Target Field. The ball's trajectory was estimated to land 510 feet away from home plate.
After winning the coin toss, Frazier let Cespedes swing first. And he obliged. Cespeded put up another nine home runs that just about solidified his second Derby crown. The Cuban slugger got off to another quick start with a flurry of balls deep into the left field bleachers. He even withstood rain that began to fall in the middle of his round after delaying the competition at the start.
Frazier could knock just three balls out of the yard in his last chance to steal the crown away from the defending champ. And Cespedes walked away with the prize. Only time will tell if he returns in 2015 to become the first three-time consecutive winner.
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