MINNEAPOLIS -- The A's Yoenis Cespedes got an early scare, but he recovered to crush the competition at the All-Star home run derby Monday night.

After hitting only three home runs in his first round, Cespedes advanced by defeating teammate Josh Donaldson in a swing-off. He then won three straight head-to-head matchups, including a 7-4 win over Toronto's Jose Bautista in the American League final. He then destroyed Cincinnati's Todd Frazier 9-1 to win the title.

In all, Cespedes swung at 58 pitches and hit 30 home runs. He joins Prince Fielder and Ken Griffey Jr. as the only players with multiple home run derby championships. He and Griffey (1998-99) are the only ones to win it back-to-back.

"I'm very happy and proud to be the only other person -- I wish there was another word to describe it better than that -- to win this competition in consecutive years," Cespedes said through a translator.

Earlier in the day, at the news conference featuring all 10 derby participants, Donaldson poked a little fun at his teammate, saying, "He might be the defending champ, but I'm the people's champ and I'm going to bring him down!"

But after his teammate delivered the fatal blow to his hopes, Donaldson admitted that was just a bit of false bravado.

"I felt coming into it that (Cespedes) was going to win it because I see him every day. When he gets put in this kind of spotlight it brings out the best in him," Donaldson said.


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Donaldson and Cespedes each hit three home runs in the first round, pitting them head-to-head in a three-pitch swing-off to see who would advance. Donaldson went first and hit one to the second deck in left-center on this third and final cut. Cespedes then stepped up and crushed two balls to the second deck on his first two swings.

"I told him 'Good luck.' He really didn't need it, I guess," Donaldson said.

As for Cespedes, he said afterward that he didn't think Donaldson's swing was right for the derby.

"I knew he wasn't going to win because his mentality is to take the ball out of the stadium," Cespedes said, "and that's not how you win this competition."

After defeating Donaldson, Cespedes advanced to the American League final by beating Adam Jones of the Orioles 9-3.

Cespedes was the clear star on a rainy, chilly night when power is at a premium.

"I'm somebody who's very conscious of the power I have so I don't have to put more of a swing or more of an effort into hitting a home run," he said of his approach. "I look for a good pitch and put a good swing on it, and that usually takes care of it."

  • A's pitcher Jeff Samardzija is planning to make the most of a unique situation at the All-Star game. Sent to the A's in a July 4 trade with the Chicago Cubs, Samardzija was voted onto the National League roster.

    After joking that he could stand on home plate during the national anthem Tuesday, Samardzija said he was looking forward to a little bit of closure for his days in the N.L.

    "The timing (of the trade) was unfortunate, but I'm really excited to get come here and experience two teams," said Samardzija, who will be introduced with the N.L. and will wear a generic N.L. jersey though he's not eligible to pitch for either team.

    "I get to work out with the National League team and get to thank those guys for bringing me here. I've got a lot of respect for those guys. I've faced them for a long time, especially that Central (Division). I think I've seen Joey Votto and Jay Bruce and Matt Holliday and those guys plenty."

  • Hunter Pence isn't from Minnesota. He has played only six major league games in the Twin Cities. Nevertheless, the All-Star game is something of a homecoming for the Giants right fielder.

    Pence's father, Howard, was born and raised in a small Minnesota farming town near the Iowa border. When he was in his early 20s, Howard moved to Texas for the oil business, but many of the Pence clan remain in Minnesota. A bunch of them will be at Target Field this week.

    Pence was planning to see his grandmother but wasn't sure how many relatives would be in the stands Tuesday night. "A ton," he said.

  • Giants righty Tim Hudson, a late addition to the N.L. squad to replace ineligible Madison Bumgarner, said he's honored to be an All-Star for the fourth time in his career, but he doesn't expect to find himself on the Target Field mound Tuesday.

    "As of right now I think I'm kind of the long, extra-inning guy, which is fine with me," said Hudson, who celebrated his 39th birthday Monday. "Hopefully we won't go extra innings and we won't need me, but if we do, it's my normal turn to pitch, so I could go 100-plus pitches if we need it."

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