Aaron Judge launched a series of moonballs into the outfield bleachers as the New York Yankees rookie smashed his way to victory in MLB’s All-Star Game home-run hitting contest on Monday.
The 25-year-old Judge made it look simple, out-slugging Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano 11-10 in the Home Run Derby final ahead of Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Marlins Park in Miami.
Judge dominated the competition, with one of his shots sailing 513 feet to left field. He hit several others over 500 feet.
“I was a little nervous going into it,” Judge said. “It was an incredible experience. They all felt good. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Defending champion Giancarlo Stanton was the crowd favorite but he exited early. Stanton was eliminated in the opening round, 17-16, by Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, quashing any chance of a marquee matchup with Judge.
In the semi-finals, Judge defeated Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger 13-12, and Sano got past Sanchez 11-10. Judge’s power display included using all fields, hitting several upper-deck homers to straightaway centre and the opposite field.
Judge, who leads the majors with 30 homers, ousted fellow rookie Bellinger, who was taking pitches from his father Clay Bellinger, a former major league hitter.
Judge is the first rookie and fourth Yankee to win the home run contest, joining Robinson Cano (2011), Jason Giambi (2002) and Tino Martinez (1997).
The home run contest is part of the glitz and glamour that surrounds the annual All-Star Game which this year will feature Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale and Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer as the starting pitchers. (Agence France-Presse)
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