LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) — LATEST on the home run derby (local all time):
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Washington’s Juan Soto defeated Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez 19-18 in the final to capture the home run derby title at Dodger Stadium.
Soto, competing in the Derby for the second time, had nine homers in the final minute of the two-game final. He added four more in bonus time, with 19 seconds to spare, his cleaning blast coming up. He threw his bat in the air after clearing the fence after the decisive shot.
The fourth seed Soto is the second national player to win the derby. Bryce Harper won it in 2018 in Washington.
Soto earned a $1 million prize and another highlight on his resume as his time with Washington was likely to come to an end. The Athletic reported over the weekend that Soto turned down a $440 million, 15-year contract to stay with the Nationals, and could be traded by the end of the month.
Washington’s Juan Soto advanced to the final with a 16-15 win over St. Louis slugger and passionate favorite Albert Pujols.
Fourth seed Soto shot a 405-foot shot with 31 seconds remaining in bonus time. He will face sixth seed Julio Rodriguez of Seattle in the final.
42-year-old Pujol averaged 395 feet on his homer while 23-year-old Soto averaged 424 feet.
Soto is trying to become the second national player to win the derby. Bryce Harper won it in 2018 in Washington.
Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez stunned Pete Alonso’s bid to become the first player to win three straight home run derbys after beating Mets slugger 31-23 in the semi-finals.
Rodriguez, 21, scored 18 in the last minute of regulation and 60 seconds of bonus time. His top blast was 450 feet and his average was 410 feet.
Alonso had 18 during the three-minute regulation time. Alonso had nine over 440 feet, with one being 463, and an average of 427 feet.
Rodriguez will face either Albert Pujols of St. Louis or Juan Soto of Washington in the final.
Eighth seed Albert Pujols achieved the biggest surprise of the first round, defeating No. 1 seed Kyle Schwarber in overtime.
Pujol had a total of 20 homers, including seven in the extra round. None of his drives went over 440 feet, but he did enough to move with an average of 406 feet per homer.
Pujol, who played for the Dodgers portion of last season, was a passionate favorite among players and fans. After a three-minute regulation session, a crowd of Pujols cheered for the All-Stars along the third base line.
“It is great to see the younger generation and all that talent. This is for you guys,” Pujols said after he was done. “It’s great to be back here one last time.”
Pujols, sure Schwarber would top his regulation total of 13, told ESPN that he had already given away his batting gloves before he could retrieve them for the OT.
This is the fifth consecutive time the top seed has lost in the first round.
Schwarber went three in bonus time of one minute. He tied it with a 385-foot homer with 15 seconds remaining, but couldn’t find another over the fence to force a swing-off.
There were six in Schwarber’s OT. The Phillies Slugger covered over 440 feet and averaged 419 feet.
Washington’s Juan Soto didn’t need bonus time in his matchup against Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez. Soto’s final home run at the end of time saw the fourth seed win 18–17.
4 seed Soto of the Derby set up a fast pace with seven in the first minute. His 482-foot shot as time ran out was the longest of the first three matchups. Soto set the Derby record in Colorado last year with a 520-foot blast.
Ramirez struggled to find any consistency during his three minutes. He averaged 387 feet with a top explosion of 421 feet.
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Two-time Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso needed bonus time, but New York Mets slugger was able to keep his hopes alive of being the first of a three-peat with a 20-19 win over Ronald Acuna Jr. of Atlanta.
Alonso – the Derby’s second seed – trailed two in bonus time, but left the 423-foot shot in center field with 31 seconds to go. He had seven goos over 440 feet and averaged 429 feet per homer. He also had a 480-foot blast that erupted from the roof of the stand in left center. Alonso only had five minutes before warming up.
Acuna also had only five after the first minute. He averaged 408 feet per homer and only one that went over 440 feet—a 472-yard blast that also jumped off the ceiling in left field.
This is the second time Acuna has been replaced by Alonso. The first was in the 2019 semi-finals.
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Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez advanced to the second round of the All-Star Home Run Derby with a 32-23 win over Texas’ Corey Seeger.
The Mariners’ rookie, who has not played at Dodger Stadium, was an underdog against Seeger, who was with the Dodgers for seven seasons. He didn’t seem surprised. With Seattle great and three-time Derby champion Ken Griffey Jr photographed on the field, Rodriguez had 10 drives over 440 feet and 19 hits during the final two minutes of regulation.
Rodriguez’s 32 homers averaged 420 feet, with his longest being 463.
Cesar scored seven in the first minute but only six in the second. His household averaged 418 feet, with the longest being 451. They had three over 440 feet.
Seeger has not dropped out of the opening round in Derby appearances. He lost to Mark Trumbo as a rookie in 2016.
Ronald Acuna Jr. and the rest of the All-Star Home Run Derby ground received a rousing welcome to the competition on Monday.
The All-Star organizers devised a series of fire-explosive devices around the stage where the eight participants stood during the introduction, and they set fires after the start of each matchup. The flames were large and fast, and their heat could even be felt in the press box on the third level of Dodger Stadium, more than 200 feet away.
The players were probably a few dozen feet away, and they were clearly stunned by the scorching heat. Acuna and Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez reacted with fear when a huge explosion occurred behind them during another pair’s introduction.
When all eight contestants reached the stage, the organizers fired another huge burst of flames, which sent Acuna moving two steps towards the edge of the stage, away from the flames.
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