Wed, Jul 16, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Angeles' Garret Anderson wins the Home Run Derby

AP , CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Garret Anderson of the Anaheim Angels holds his trophy for winning the Home Run Derby at US Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois, on Monday.

PHOTO: AFP

Anaheim Angels' star Garret Anderson edged the St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols 9-8 Monday to win the All-Star Home Run Derby.

"I don't think of myself as a home-run hitter, but it was another platform to show America what I can do," Anderson said.

Tino Martinez, then with the New York Yankees, was the only other player from a defending World Series champion to win the derby, accomplishing the feat in 1997 at Cleveland's Jacobs Field.

Some of the drama was lacking this year.

Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa weren't among the eight players in the competition, which has become a highlight of the All-Star break.

And US Cellular Field, which used to be known as Comiskey Park, is among the most boring ballparks in baseball, with no natural targets such as the warehouse at Baltimore's Camden Yards or the Green Monster at Boston's Fenway Park.

Still, the crowd of 47,819 rose to its feet as Pujols, batting last, came up with one strike left. He stepped out and lined a pitch off the left-field warning track.

Pujols started slowly, hitting just four homers in the first round, which tied for third with Jim Edmonds and Gary Sheffield, trailing defending champion Jason Giambi (12) and Anderson (seven). Pujols advanced over Sheffield because he has more regular-season homers, 27-22.

In the semifinals, Anderson beat Edmonds 6-4 and Pujols defeated Giambi 14-11, hitting the longest shot of the night -- a 478-foot drive. Pujols' total tied for the most in a derby round, a mark set by Giambi two years ago at Seattle.

After lining a ball into left field for his final out in the semifinals, Giambi walked over to Pujols, exchanged hand slaps, and the pair gave each other an extended hug.

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