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Morneau hits more homers

Twins slugger wins Home Run Derby, Texas’ Hamilton puts on a show

Posted: July 15, 2008 12:29 a.m.
Updated: September 15, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 

NEW YORK - Ruth built it. Josh Hamilton tried to tear it down. Justin Morneau demolished the hopes of the people inside of it.

In a record display at Yankee Stadium, the Texas Ranger Hamilton launched 28 first-round homers in the 2008 Home Run Derby Monday night on All-Star Monday, but tired out in the final round.

The Minnesota Twin Morneau's final round total of five homers defeated Hamilton and his three.

"He's the one that put on the show," Morneau said of Hamilton. "Everyone's going to remember that more than me winning it."

The Texas Ranger outfielder had the New York City crowd on its feet and chanting his name in the first round as he hit balls off the back wall, into the upper deck and into the blackened center field bleachers at the historic ballpark.

The stadium has a date with the wrecking ball at season's end, but the formerly embattled major leaguer's display provided the trial run.

Hamilton, whose battles with drug addiction and injuries derailed his career from 2002 to 2006, broke Bobby Abreu's former record of 24 first-round bombs set in 2005 while he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The rejuvenated Ranger hit five more home runs in the first round than the next three competitors, who had to play catch-up in the second round.

Hamilton's 18th home run traveled 518 feet high into the upper deck at Yankee Stadium. His second home run targeted the famous Yankee Stadium facade in right-center field. It punched the back wall, though, halfway up and traveled 502 feet.

Morneau (eight in the first round, nine in the second) outlasted Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun (seven in the first, seven in the second) and Houston Astro Lance Berkman (eight in the first, six in the second) to make it to the final round.

Hamilton hit four homers in the second round and gave in to save energy after four outs.

But in the end, he didn't have enough.

"To take that many swings in a row, there's no way you can't get tired like that," Morneau said.

For the Canadian Morneau, it wasn't as anticlimactic as it was for the fans.

He used to play home run derby in his back yard and said it was a dream of his to win it at the All-Star Game.

He walked off a historic yard Monday as a champion.

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