Tuesday, July 15
Cespedes beat Cincinnati's Todd Frazier, 9-1, in the final round to win the Home Run Derby for the second straight year.
The A's slugger became the first back-to-back winner since Griffey captured the 1998 and '99 crowns for the Seattle Mariners.
"I just discovered recently that Ken Griffey Jr. was the only other person to win consecutive titles, and it was something that I wanted to accomplish, and I was able to get past the first round, which allowed me to kind of breathe and re-gather myself," Cespedes said through a translator during an on-field television interview. "That allowed me to go on and win this title one more time."
Incredibly, both competitors barely made it out of the first round, advancing on swing-offs. Frazier downed former Twins player Justin Morneau, 1-0, while Cespedes topped A's teammate Josh Donaldson, 2-1.
Frazier belted six homers over the fence in the second round to a pair for Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki, the captain of the National League Home Run Derby team.
The 28-year-old Cespedes cranked out nine homers to three for Baltimore's Adam Jones in the AL's second round.
Frazier made it to the final despite hitting one home run in the National League's last round. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton received a bye after belting six homers in the first round, including a 422-foot upper deck shot to left that nearly escaped Target Field. Stanton, though, was blanked in his next attempt.
In the AL final, Cespedes smashed seven homers to four for Toronto's Jose Bautista, who hit 10 homers in the first round. Bautista, though, had to wait nearly two hours before taking another swing by facing Cespedes in the AL's final round.
Cespedes went first in the title round when the skies opened up and raindrops started again at Target Field. Cespedes' seventh homer was a 452-foot titanic blast.
A's third-base coach Mike Gallego, who pitched to Cespedes last year at New York's Citi Field, delivered the home run balls Monday night. Last year, Cespedes hit 32 homers, two more than the 2014 competition. That included his swing-off homers.
"I think when the lights are their brightest, the public is watching more than ever and it truly motivates me and it makes me want to do my best at all times," Cespedes said.
Frazier's brother Charlie, a sixth round draft pick of the Marlins, never made it to the majors, although he did serve as Todd's pitcher Monday.
The start of the competition was delayed an hour due to inclement weather.
Unlike years past, players were given a maximum of seven outs per round and a bracketed competition took place after the first round. The first-round leader for each league moved directly into the semifinals.
Morneau, who won an MVP and the 2008 Home Run Derby as a member of the Twins, belted two homers in the opening round along with Frazier.
Also eliminated in the first round for the NL was the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig, who was shut out.
Donaldson (3) and Minnesota's Brian Dozier (2) were done in the first round.