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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.