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    A’s Yoenis Cespedes takes home derby crown

    Slugger bests Harper in the final

    Yoenis Cespedes hit 32 homers — 17 in the first round — to become the first player not selected to the All-Star Game to win the derby.
    Yoenis Cespedes hit 32 homers — 17 in the first round — to become the first player not selected to the All-Star Game to win the derby.

    NEW YORK — The Home Run Derby champion didn’t even make the All-Star team.

    Yoenis Cespedes won baseball’s power-hitting competition with a dazzling display Monday night, becoming the first player left out of the All-Star game to take home the title. The Oakland Athletics slugger beat Bryce Harper, 9-8, in the final round at Citi Field, hitting the decisive drive with five swings to spare.

    In his second major league season, the outfielder from Cuba dropped his bat and raised his arm in triumph when he sent his 32d homer of the night some 455 feet to deep center field, where it caromed off the back wall of the 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 Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer, set to start for the AL on Tuesday night.

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    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,’’ Cespedes said through a translator. ‘‘That was the key.’’

    That sent him straight to the finals, though he added six long balls in round two for good measure.


    The 20-year-old Harper, wearing shiny gold spikes as his father pitched to him, hammered eight homers in all three rounds. But the Washington Nationals phenom couldn’t keep up with Cespedes.

    ‘‘He’s incredible,’’ Harper said. ‘‘He’s an absolute machine.’’

    Colorado outfielder Michael Cuddyer and Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, who leads the majors with 37 homers, were eliminated in the second round.

    ‘‘I had a little blister come up second round. It’s just one of those things,’’ Davis said. ‘‘I usually get one once a year and it just happened to be tonight. It actually popped during a swing. My main concern is obviously not to hurt myself and to hang onto the bat.

    ‘‘It’s something that I've dealt with in my career since I can remember. You’ve just got to kind of wear it for a couple of days and then it hardens up and you’re good to go.’’


    Hometown favorite David Wright of the Mets 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.

    Also knocked out early were defending champion Prince Fielder, the only player besides Ken Griffey Jr. to win multiple crowns, and American League captain Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, who made Cespedes his final pick.