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Toronto slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. bashes way to MLB Home Run Derby win

Blue Jays first baseman joins dad as first father-son duo to top competition
American League’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr., of the Toronto Blue Jays, hits during the first round of the MLB All-Star baseball Home Run Derby in Seattle, Monday, July 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Ted Warren)

Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. joined Vladimir Sr. to become the first father-son duo to win the All-Star Home Run Derby, beating Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena 25-23 in the final round on Monday night in Seattle.

Guerrero defeated Julio Rodríguez 21-20 in the semifinals after the Mariners star hit a record 41 in the first round in front of his hometown fans.

Batting against Blue Jays manager John Schneider, Guerrero was the last semifinalist to swing and the first finalist, setting a final round record for homers to top Pete Alonso’s 23 two years ago. Vladimir Guerrero Sr. won the 2007 derby in San Francisco while with the Los Angeles Angels, beating the Blue Jays’ Alex Rios 3-2 in the final.

Arozarena, batting against Tampa Bay field coordinator Tomas Francisco, started his final 30-second segment with 21 homers and quickly got to 23 before lining and popping up on his final swings.

Arozarena overcame Luis Robert of the Chicago White Sox 35-22 in the semifinals. Robert hit the longest drive of the night, a 484-foot shot to left in the second round.

Trying to become the youngest Derby winner at age 22, Rodríguez knocked out two-time champion Alonso, who hit 21. Rodríguez beat Corey Seager 32-24 in the first round last year at Dodger Stadium, then knocked out Alonso 31-23 before losing to Juan Soto 19-18 in the final.

Arozarena beat Texas’ Adolis García 24-17 in the opening pairing before a crowd of 46,952 at T-Mobile Park. García is the godfather to Arozarena’s daughter, and the two jumped into each other’s arms during warmups.

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Robert knocked out Baltimore’s Adley Rutschman 28-27 in the opening round. Rutschman hit 21 left-handed, and the switch hitter then turned around to the right side and hit six more right-handed during a 30-second bonus round. From Portland, Oregon, Rutschman grew up attending Mariners games.

Guerrero, back for the first time in four years, defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts 26-11 in the first round. Four years ago at Cleveland, Guerrero hit 29 in the first round and 40 in the second, then lost to Alonso 23-22 in the final.

Alonso was trying for his third title in four years. Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. is the only three-time winner, taking the title in 1994, ’98 and ‘99.

Only three players have won the title at home: the Chicago Cubs’ Ryne Sandberg in 1990, Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier in 2015 and Washington’s Bryce Harper in 2018.

Ronald Blum, The Associated Press

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