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Robinson Cano slugs Adrian Gonzalez in Home Run Derby

July 12, 2011

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— Robinson Cano thought about hitting the Miller Lite sign, a 472-foot drive off an advertisement a good 50 feet or more above and well behind the swimming pool at Chase Field.

“That was my favorite one. I’m going to have that in my mind for the next two or three weeks. I wonder how far could it be, that in New York?” he said. “I got power.”

In another Yankees-Red Sox showdown, Cano outslugged Adrian Gonzalez 12-11 in the final round of the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night, even through his Boston rival made the biggest splash at Chase Field.

Batting last and being pitched to by his father, former Houston Astros pitcher Jose Cano, the New York second baseman batted second in the final round. Each hit 20 home runs through two rounds.

“As a kid, you dream to be up here with a bunch of guys that you watched back in the day, like Sosa, Griffey, McGwire, Giambi, how much fun they have,” Robinson Cano said.

Again highlighting the dangers of trying to catch a ball at a big-league ballpark, a fan standing on a table above the pool deck, Keith Carmickle of suburban Kingman, fell over trying to catch a Prince Fielder homer. The fan was grabbed by his brother before going all the way over, where he could have fallen about 20 feet. Carmickle was dangling when he was pulled back up.

Gonzalez hit a ball that wound up in the swimming pool in right field — along with Mike Moon, a 26-year-old fan who caught the ball before falling into the water, where he was surrounded by bikini-clad women.

“I saw the ball, I didn’t want to spill my beer and I didn’t spill my beer,” he said. “I don’t really remember what happened. I think I leaned forward, caught the ball, then fell like that (leaning backward). It was pretty cool.”

With commercial breaks and other interruptions, the derby has become a three-hour affair that’s so slow a regular-season game seems like an Olympic downhill ski race. Before a crowd of 44,820 on the night before the All-Star game, Major League Baseball said Cano set a final-round record.

Matt Thomas of Peoria, Ariz., caught Matt Holliday’s second gold ball, hit deep into the left-field lower deck. The ball, with one panel infused with 24-karat gold leather, has a retail value of $149.99. Players were thrown gold balls when they had one out left.

“It just came right at me, and I reached up and grabbed, I played a little trick like I didn’t have it,” he said, making a tucking motion, “then went, oh, here it is. It’s pretty cool.”

Gonzalez and Cano were the most impressive hitters, and they eliminated defending champ David Ortiz of the Red Sox and Milwaukee’s Fielder (nine apiece) in the second round. St. Louis’ Holliday (five), Toronto’s Jose Bautista (four), Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks (three) and the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp (two) didn’t get past the opening round.

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