Scott Boeck, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The Home Run Derby was Monday at Nationals Park, but a decent rendition of it broke out Tuesday during the actual All-Star Game.
Home Run Derby, Part II saw a record 10 home runs hit in the American League’s 8-6 victory over the National League in 10 innings.
The 10 homers shattered the previous record of six, which happened three times – 1951, 1954 and 1971.
“Standard operation nowadays, right?” said AL manager A.J. Hinch of Houston Astros. “We’re going to homer and punch out as an industry.”
“There’s a great love affair with both results. I mean, to kind of empty your tank and hit homers tonight at this event is probably the best thing imaginable,” he said. “Just to have that kind of emotion that comes with the home run, especially when the big boys hit it and especially when the Astros hit it.”
And why not? The Midsummer Classic is following the same script as the regular season – more home runs and strikeouts. In 2017, a record 6,105 homers were hit, shattering the 2000 record of 5,693. This season, the average of 2.28 homers per game is just below the record 2.51 set last year.
The AL and NL traded home runs all night and the All-Star Game was ultimately decided by the homers. All but one run came via long ball, by 10 different batters.
One was predicted. Three were go-ahead. Two were back-to-back.
The slugfest began with none other than New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who hit a solo off hometown favorite and Nationals ace Max Scherzer in the second inning to stake the AL an early 1-0 lead.
Seven-time All-Star and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout followed up with a solo shot off New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom in the third inning.
It was Seattle Mariners shortstop Jean Segura who predicted he would go deep. He made his claim to teammate Nelson Cruz before the game started. It took a dropped foul ball in the eighth inning by Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto to get it accomplished.
What did Segura say?
“‘I’m going to hit a homer. I’m going to hit it as hard as I can,'” Cruz said after the game. “And he did.”
Then came Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett, who knotted the game 5-5 with a two-run blast off Mariners reliever Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings.
Joey Votto, Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Christian Yelich also homered for the NL.
The AL reclaimed the lead in the 10th inning when Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman stroked the go-ahead homer – only to be followed by teammate George Springer for back-to-back homers.
“I took a cutter down the middle of the first pitch and kind of went into battle mode and just was trying to put a line drive in play, and it left the yard it,” said Bregman, who was named the MVP. “It was crazy.”
“Normally when we go back-to-back, I have to hit it after Springer does because he leads off it, so it was pretty cool to see him go back-to-back. I think George Springer is going to be hot for the second half now, the back-to-back push.”
Said Springer: “We saw some guys put some good swings on the ball and have a lot of fun out there.”
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