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Cano wins Home Run Derby

American League All-Star Robinson Cano of the New

American League All-Star Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees reacts in the second round of the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby at Chase Field in Phoenix. (July 11, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

PHOENIX - PHOENIX -- The Home Run Derby, the extremely long competition between some of baseball's best sluggers, came down to a Yankees-Red Sox battle Monday night at Chase Field -- and the Yankees prevailed in walk-off fashion.

Robinson Cano defeated Boston's Adrian Gonzalez, 12-11, to become the third Yankee to win this event. Tino Martinez (1997) and Jason Giambi (2002) also won in Yankees uniforms.

"I didn't feel like it was Yankees-Red Sox," a smiling Cano said afterward. "I knew I was facing Gonzalez, but I didn't think about it very much."

Gonzalez kicked off the final round by going deep an impressive 11 times. But Cano, making his Derby debut, hit his 12th homer at a point when he had made only six outs (the 10th out eliminates a player).

Upon hitting his 12th homer, Cano hugged his father and pitcher, former Astros righthander Jose Cano, 49. "The big thing is not my swing," Cano told ESPN moments later. "It's the gentleman that was throwing."

"It's what I do all the time [in the offseason], throw him BP," Jose Cano said.

And now Cano -- who backed up teammate Curtis Granderson's prediction Sunday that he would win it -- will bat eighth Tuesday night in the All-Star Game.

Cano thrived while hitting against his father, who pitched in six games for the 1989 Astros. Gonzalez, the first-year Red Sox first baseman, made his second appearance and hit against Indians manager (and former Mets coach) Manny Acta.

Cano, hitting third in the first round, kicked off his night by blasting a 449-foot homer. He left the yard twice before recording his first out, picked up a third homer before tallying a second out and went deep five times before he reached four outs. His eight homers placed him second in the first round, and in the second round, he went deep an amazing 12 times.

His longest homer -- two of them, actually -- traveled 472 feet, according to the ballpark's measurements. Contemplating that, Cano said, "Wow, I've got some power."

Gonzalez paced the first round with nine homers, and after Cano's impressive second-round display, Gonzalez drilled 11 homers to tie Cano at 20.

In all, Cano homered 32 times. Some players, including the Mets' David Wright, have struggled after competing in this event. Cano expressed confidence that he won't join that list.

"I'm still young. I'm 28 years old," he said. "I've still got three days to rest, and I'll meet the guys in Toronto," where the Yankees will open their second half Thursday night.

The Derby featured the first matchup of leagues, with American League captain David Ortiz of Boston and National League captain Prince Fielder of Milwaukee selecting their teammates. Ortiz and Fielder qualified for the semifinals and fell well short of Cano and Gonzalez, finishing with nine homers each. The AL pummeled the NL 76-19.

St. Louis' Matt Holliday (five), Toronto slugger Jose Bautista (four), Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks (three) and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp (two) failed to advance past the first round.

Jose Bautista -- who emerged from oblivion last year to lead the majors with 54 homers and has 31 this year -- hit only four and wrote on Twitter, "Can't deny it, the nerves got to me a bit!''

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