Prince becomes home run king

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

St. LOUIS -- Josh Hamilton, who lit up the upper deck at Yankee Stadium with flashbulbs and souvenirs a year ago, watched last night.

He saw fellow Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz battle Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers in the State Farm home run derby final before 45,981 fans at Busch Stadium.

Fielder beat Cruz 6-5 in the final, with a drive to straightaway centre to win a trophy. Fielder went on a run of six homers in eight swing for a distance of 2,851 feet.

“They should bring a big ole bag of cash out to the winner,” said Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth earlier in the day. “You know get a leprechaun to bring carry it out to home plate, dump the bag and have all the cash spill out.”

Now that would increase involvement. Despite being asked once and twice, defending champ Justin Morneau of New Westminster, B.C. and the Minnesota Twins would not compete.

Many went home unhappy as hometown hero Albert Pujols was eliminated in the second round, becoming the 12th consecutive hometown Derby combatant who failed to win. The last hometown hero was Ryne Sandberg at Wrigley Field in 1990. Missouri-born Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies was also eliminated in the second round.

Carlos Pena of the Tampa Bay Rays and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins were eliminated by Pujols in a swing-off after all three tied for the final spot with five homers apiece.

Adrian Gonzalez of the San Diego Padres hit two homers. Brandon Inge of the Detroit Tigers was blanked in the first round, matching Jason Bay in 2005, Bret Boone in 2003 and Troy Glaus in 2001.

A year ago Hamilton hit 28 in the first round. This year the first five hitters managed to total 29.


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