Mets’ Pete Alonso repeats as Home Run Derby champion

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National League’s Pete Alonso, of the New York Mets, cheers during the first round of the MLB All Star baseball Home Run Derby, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — 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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