The Latest: Mets' Alonso repeats as HR Derby champion

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DENVER (AP) — The Latest on the Home Run Derby (all times local):

8:45 p.m.

Pete Alonso of the New York Mets became the third back-to-back Home Run Derby champion, beating No. 6 seed Trey Mancini in the final.

Alonso and his blue-and-orange bat went 6 for 6 in a 28-second stretch to give him 23 homers in the final round after Mancini hit 22 in the thin Rocky Mountain air.

The 26-year-old Alonso joins Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) and Yoenis Céspedes (2013-14) as the only players to win two straight. Alonso has one distinction, though — his titles are over three seasons. There wasn’t an event last season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Before stepping to the plate for the final, Alonso danced and sang along with the crowd to Journey’s hit song “Don’t Stop Believin.’” He didn’t stop believing, either.

Needing six to win, he made quick work of that. After his winning blast, Alonso flexed for a brief moment, headed toward the mound and then put on a giant chain. Pitching strikes to Alonso was Dave Jauss, the team’s bench coach.

It was quite a ride for Baltimore's Mancini, who was a long shot to win the event. The 29-year-old returned this season after treatment for colon cancer. He was diagnosed during spring training last year and missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

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8:25 p.m.

Mets slugger Pete Alonso took a step closer to defending his Home Run Derby title by beating Juan Soto and advancing to the final.

Alonso cruised to 16 homers, eclipsing Soto’s total of 15. The Washington Nationals standout appeared exhausted after pulling off the stunner of the event by knocking off top-seeded Shohei Ohtani in a second tiebreaker. Soto had the farthest homer of the event in the first round, a 520-foot shot. His longest in the semifinals was 481.

Wielding his blue-and-orange bat, Alonso hit 14 homers and with 63 seconds left called timeout. He played to the crowd, asking them to cheer. They did. Alonso won the event in 2019.

With one more win, Alonso would join Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) and Yoenis Céspedes (2013-14) as the only back-to-back champions.

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8:05 p.m.

No. 6 seed Trey Mancini earned a spot in the final of the Home Run Derby by knocking off hometown favorite Trevor Story.

The Baltimore Orioles first baseman hit 13 homers, including the winner with 23 seconds left on the clock. Fireworks went off to celebrate his victory over Story, the Colorado Rockies shortstop who finished with 12.

Mancini is trying to become the third Orioles player to win the event. He would join Miguel Tejada (2004) and Cal Ripken Jr. (1991).

The 29-year-old Mancini returned this season after treatment for colon cancer. Mancini was diagnosed during spring training last year and missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

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7:45 p.m.

Top-seeded Shohei Ohtani bowed out in the Home Run Derby’s first round, beaten by Nationals star Juan Soto in a scintillating showdown that went to a second tiebreaker.

Ohtani struggled early in his first round but rallied during his final minute to match Soto with 22 homers. In the first overtime, Soto led off and hit six homers over a minute. Ohtani matched that, too.

In the second tiebreaker, each got three swings. Soto went 3 for 3, while an exhausted Ohtani grounded out on his first attempt, ending the match.

The official score: Soto 31, Ohtani 28.

Early on, the Los Angeles Angels pitcher/hitter phenom couldn’t get anything in the air and didn’t hit his first homer until 50 seconds had gone by.

Fellow Angels All-Star Jared Walsh put a cell phone to Ohtani's ear during his timeout, letting teammate Mike Trout provide Ohtani with a brief pep talk. Ohtani smiled listening to Trout's words and found his rhythm shortly after that.

Ohtani is the league leader in homers with 33, which is the most at the All-Star break in franchise history.

It’s a big two-day All-Star stretch for Ohtani. He’s the starting pitcher on Tuesday night and will be in the leadoff spot as the designated hitter.

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7:15 p.m.

Pete Alonso began his Home Run Derby title defense in grand style by swatting a first-round record 35 homers to knock off Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals.

The fourth-seeded Perez finished with 28 homers, which would’ve won the previous two matchups.

Alonso’s burst was the most in the first round, topping the 28 by Josh Hamilton at original Yankee Stadium in 2008.

He’s trying to join Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) and Yoenis Céspedes (2013-14) as the only back-to-back Home Run Derby champions.

The New York Mets first baseman stood out at the plate for more than just his swing. Alonso, the fifth seed, wore socks with stars on them and swung a blue-and-orange bat. He also danced to music from New York rappers before his bonus minute and fist-pumped when he was done.

His farthest homer was 514 feet.

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6:35 p.m.

Baltimore slugger and No. 6 seed Trey Mancini held off Matt Olson in the opening round of the Home Run Derby as the Oakland first baseman’s tying attempt at the horn curled foul.

Mancini finished with 24 homers, including one that carried 496 feet. The third-seeded Olson went deep 23 times with a few winding up in the third deck.

The 29-year-old Mancini has been one of baseball’s best feel-good stories this season in his return following treatment for colon cancer. Mancini was diagnosed during spring training last year and missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

This is the second Home Run Derby held at Coors Field, with Ken Griffey Jr. winning in 1998. Mark McGwire hit the longest one that day with a 510-footer.

5:35 p.m.

The top-seeded Shohei Ohtani warmed up for Monday night’s Home Run Derby in Denver by hitting one into the third deck in batting practice.

The Los Angeles Angels star had a mammoth blast into the upper-deck in Seattle over the weekend.

The fans were crowded together in left, center and right on a 91 degree night (33 Celsius) as they tried to catch a souvenir. They cheered each ball that left the yard with the biggest ovation coming for Ohtani’s titanic shot to right field just before the players wrapped up practice.

It was a statement homer.

The eight-player field includes 2019 champion Pete Alonso, Juan Soto, Matt Olson, Trey Mancini, Joey Gallo, Salvador Perez and local favorite Trevor Story of the Rockies.

Ohtani kicks off a big All-Star week with the Home Run Derby. He’s also starting the All-Star Game on Tuesday night and batting leadoff as the designated hitter.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Associated Press

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