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May 29, 2014

Gonzalez an unlikely home-run winner

Alex Gonzalez went 2-for-2 in the final round to win the 2014 Hall of Fame Classic Home Run Derby at Doubleday Field on Saturday.

Gonzalez beat Brady Clark, who had hit one home run in the finals.

“When he hit that home run, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to hit two home runs in two swings with no warmups,’ “ said Gonzalez, who played in the majors from 1994-2006 and represented the Toronto Blue Jays in the Classic as the Knucksies’ third baseman. “That’s not an easy thing to do. I think I thought Clark was going to take it.”

The first home run in the finals by Gonzalez was a nail-biter, just fair down the left-field line, where the wall is 296 feet from home plate.

“I love those (dimensions),” Gonzalez said. “I wish I could have hit in more parks like that.”

There was no doubt when Gonzalez hit the winner on the next pitch. It was also to left field but went over the Ford Sign and into a backyard.

Clark also had hit a finals home run down the left-field line, barely clearing the fence. His other swing in the finals was an out, a foul down the line in left.

Clark and Gonzalez had gone through a four-batter playoff after the first round ended in a tie.

Mike Sweeney and Luis Gonzalez were the other two batters to advance from the 11-player first round, where each contestant got two warmup swings followed by six hits. The four players each had three homer in six at-bats during the first round.

The other contestants were Kerry Robinson (two homers), Todd Hollandsworth (one homer), Brady Anderson (two homers), Ivan Rodriguez (two homers), Jim Thome (no homers), Hideki Matsui (two homers) and Vinny Castilla (two homers). The contest was originally announced as a 10-player field, but Castilla was added at the last minute.

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