MLB Home Run Derby: Yadier Molina PItches To Matt Holliday, Allows Five Homers

Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, and Yadier Molina will represent the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 MLB All-Star Game.

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MLB Home Run Derby: Matt Holliday Eliminated, Prince Fielder, David Ortiz Advance

A weak performance from Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp carried Matt Holliday into the tiebreaker round, but he was unable to beat defending champions and league captains David Ortiz and Prince Fielder in the ensuing swing-odd, leading to his second consecutive first-round elimination with five.

Holliday, Prince Fielder, and David Ortiz ended up in a three-way swing-off tiebreaker, with each of them finishing with five home runs in regulation. Holliday, who admitted to having some confusion about the rules—he didn’t realize it was just five swings, and not five outs—finished with two, while Ortiz popped four in five chances and Fielder

Holliday has hit five home runs in the first round of all three Home Run Derbies he’s participated in. In 2007 it was enough to get him to the second round, where he finished out of finals contention with 13 total. Ortiz and Fielder have won the last two Home Run Derby crowns, Ortiz in 2010 and Fielder in 2009, in St. Louis.

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MLB Home Run Derby: Yadier Molina PItches To Matt Holliday, Allows Five Homers

Matt Holliday’s third trip to the MLB Home Run Derby was a team affair, with St. Louis Cardinals catcher and fellow All-Star Yadier Molina throwing him batting practice. Holliday’s derby struggles continued, as he hit just five home runs with a swing that’s always been geared more for line drives than longballs. Holliday hit a gold ball but was unable to overcome a slow early start; his longest home run traveled an impressive 443 feet.

Holliday hit five home runs in the 2010 Home Run Derby as well, and was unable to move past the first round; in 2007 he hit five home runs in the first round but was eliminated after hitting eight more in the second round. His 36 home runs in Coors Field in 2007 remain his career high, but even that year he hit 50 doubles.

Lance Berkman, another Cardinals All-Star and the National League leader in home runs with 24, did not participate. Holliday has 14 home runs at the break; he hit four of them after being selected for the Home Run Derby by NL captain Prince Fielder.

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MLB Home Run Derby: Adrian Gonzalez Leads Off For AL With 9

After a late switch in the lineup by American League team captain David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, pitched to by former Nationals manager Manny Acta, hit a strong nine home runs to lead off the 2011 MLB Home Run Derby. Gonzalez replaced Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, and will be followed by the National League’s Matt Holliday, of our own St. Louis Cardinals.

Gonzalez has 17 home runs in his first season with the Boston Red Sox and is currently leading the American League in batting at .354. In five years with the San Diego Padres at cavernous Petco Park Gonzalez peaked with 40 home runs in 2009; so far his move to friendlier Fenway has resulted more in batting average than increased home run power.

The American League won the 2010 Home Run Derby on the back of David Orti; the National League took the victory in 2009, when Prince Fielder topped hometown favorite Albert Pujols at Busch Stadium.

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2011 Home Run Derby Contestants: Matt Holliday Surges After Announcement

When the 2011 Home Run Derby's contestants were announced the selection by team captains Prince Fielder and David Ortiz of two second basemen—Rickie Weeks and Robinson Cano, respectively—was greeted with enough cockeyed glances and chatter to let another odd decision slip by unnoticed: Fielder had selected a St. Louis Cardinals outfielder to play for the National League's derby detachment, but he hadn't chosen the Cardinals outfielder who happened to be leading the National League in home runs: He'd picked Matt Holliday.

Lance Berkman's 23 home runs were once even more eye-opening relative to Holliday's totals, which until recently were flirting with the single digits after a series of injuries sapped his playing time, but a lucky thing happened for Fielder, just in case he was worried about earning even more internet-bound cockeyed glances: Matt Holliday started hitting a ton of home runs. Holliday's hit three home runs in his last two games, and six of his 13 on the season since coming back from his stint on the disabled list in the middle of June.

He's still not the Cardinal anyone expected at the Home Run Derby, but if Holliday keeps hitting them at this pace he might steal some attention away from his captain. Also participating in the Home Run Derby this year are Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista in the American League, with Matt Kemp rounding things out in the NL.

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