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MLB: Fielder lets bat do the talking

Detroit slugger crushes 12 home runs in final round to win Home Run Derby

Posted: July 9, 2012 10:46 p.m.
Updated: July 9, 2012 10:46 p.m.

American League's Prince Fielder, of the Detroit Tigers, poses with his children Jadyn, left, and Haven after winning the Home Run Derby on Monday in Kansas City, Mo.

KANSAS CITY — There’s something about these All-Star Game events that really gets the quiet Prince Fielder to sound off.

A man of little words, the Detroit Tigers first baseman again let his bat speak for him as for the second time in his career, Fielder won the State Farm Home Run Derby.

The 2009 and now 2012 champ outlasted Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista at Kauffman Stadium 12-7 in the final round.

Fielder hit five first-round home runs and 11 in the second round, putting Kauffman Stadium’s signature fountains in right field in his crosshairs.

“They were enticing, but they were far, though,” Fielder said of the fountains. “It’s not easy to hit out there.”

Yet he hit seven into the fountain with a couple more landing in the waterfall. One of his shots traveled 464 feet and another landed inside the sports bar beyond the seats in right field.

The characteristic that stood out for the mammoth slugger’s homers was the height. He touched the Missouri sky with homer after homer.

Bautista’s were more of the long and straight version as the right-handed hitting outfielder attacked the
Royals Hall of Fame in left field.

Fielder, though, put the pressure on Bautista with eight home runs in his first nine swings.

“It’s amazing to see anybody hit that many home runs and he has so much power to do it,” Bautista said. “If you ask him, just like I’m going to say, I’m confident in my abilities, so I think I could have done better. It’s a little disappointing for me.”

Bautista had a battle on his hands in the second round against Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo.

The right-hand hitting Trumbo hit two balls in the first round off the Royals Hall of Fame building behind the left-field seats. He hit seven home runs in the first round then six more in the second round, one of which traveled 465 feet.

The 13 combined home runs tied Bautista’s 13.

That led to a swingoff between the impressive Trumbo, the second-year, lesser-known slugger, and Bautista.

Trumbo, whose home runs regularly surpassed the 420 mark, couldn’t muster enough in the swingoff and lost 2-1
to Bautista.

The most disappointing performance, which turned out to be the most pleasing performance for the Kansas City crowd, was Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano’s zero home runs in the first round.

The American League team captain said earlier this season that he would like to include a Royal on the American League Home Run Derby team, but instead went with other choices.

Cano stepped to the plate to a chant of “Billy Butler” — the Kansas City designated hitter and A.L. All-Star who was passed over for the derby.

Cano, the defending Home Run Derby champion, was rousingly booed before every pitch and cheered after every failed home run.

But Fielder and Bautista said they both felt for Cano.

“That was totally uncalled for and disappointing from the fans here, them booing him like that,” Bautista said.” I don’t think there was really a need to boo somebody like that that hasn’t done anything to the fan base here.”

The National League’s team captain and Dodger center fielder Matt Kemp struggled for the second derby in a row, hitting only one home run.

Carols Beltran hit 12 in two rounds, while Carlos Gonzalez and Andrew McCutchen were also eliminated in the first round.


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