MLB: La Potencia time... Yoenis Cespedes defends HR Derby title

2:15 a.m. EDT July 15, 2014  MINNEAPOLIS --- Some players want no part of the All-Star Home Run Derby for fear it will mess up their swing. Yoenis Cespedes, though, thrives in the event.

The Oakland Athletics left fielder won the event for the second year in a row Monday night at Target Field when he beat Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier 9-1 in the final round. Cespedes also won last year in his derby debut at Citi Field in New York.

He becomes the first back-to-back winners since Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1998-99.

Cespedes' homers averaged 409 feet and included a 452-foot blast into the second deck in left-center field. Frazier, meanwhile, never cleared the fences in the final after hitting just one home run to edge Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton in the National League semifinals.

In a new twist to the derby, the competition went to bracketed play after the first round in which 10 hitters --- five from each league --- participated. The last two finishers in each league were eliminated and the first-place finisher received a bye to the semifinals.

Frazier downed Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki 6-2 in the second round before edging Stanton 1-0.

Cespedes downed Toronto Blue Jays outfielder/first baseman Jose Bautista 7-4 in the AL semifinal after beating Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones 9-3 in the second round. Bautista hit 10 home runs in the first round, the most of any competitor, but did not take advantage of his bye into the semis.

Stanton led all NL hitters with six home runs in the first round to gain a bye.

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, who failed to homer in seven swings, was one of the four players eliminated in the first round, which began an hour late because of rain. Also failing to advance were Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier and Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau.

Puig became the first player to go homerless in the derby since Robinson Cano in 2012. Oddly enough, Jose Cano, Robinson's father and a former Houston Astros pitcher, threw to Puig.

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