Hamilton Steals Crowd but Morneau Steals HR Derby

(NEW YORK) -- There were no Yankees and no Mets for the Home Run Derby. No Manny and no David Ortiz. But there was Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, and he stole the show at Yankee Stadium.

The second-year outfielder shattered Yankee Bobby Abreu's home run record of 24 in a single round in the annual State Farm Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, smacking 28 tape-measure bombs, far outdistancing the competition.

But in rules that dictate a clean slate for the final round, Morneau outhomered Hamilton, 5-3 in the final round to take the derby.

Hamilton had a three-round total of 35, but it was the opening sprint that won't soon be forgotten.

Hamilton hit 13 consecutive shots into the seats with eight outs in his first-round run. He hit the Bank of America sign with the white background high above the right-center-field bleachers, four into the black batter's eye in dead center, and about a half-dozen into the right-field upper deck.

During the streak, the highly partisan Yankees crowd of 53,716 chanted "Ham-il-ton, Ham-il-ton" as the left-handed hitter lifted blasts of 502 and 518 feet. But when the run ended with a foul pop, the fans jeered, as they can do only in the Bronx.

"They weren't booing me -- they were booing the pitcher," said Hamilton, referring to 71-year-old Clay Counsil, a longtime batting-practice pitcher whom Hamilton brought with him from North Carolina.

Hamilton so dominated the first round that the other three who qualified for the second -- Morneau, Lance Berkman and Ryan Braun -- combined to hit only 23 first-round homers. The four eliminated -- Dan Uggla, Grady Sizemore, Chase Utley and Evan Longoria -- combined for only 20 more. Longoria had only three, the fewest of the eight players competing in the event.

Berkman, participating in his fifth Derby, remained winless in his pursuit of the Home Run Derby trophy.

Courtesy www.mlb.com