07/11/05 11:55 PM ET
Andruw goes down swinging
Major League co-leader hits five long balls in HR Derby debut
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
Entering Monday night's event at Comerica Park with a Major League co-leading homer total and the responsibility of representing the Netherlands, Jones was looking forward to proving he was rightfully considered one of the favorites.
But after hitting just five homers, Jones was forced to hear the ribbing from his fellow All-Stars and realize life after the first round would exist without him. He needed to hit just two more to tie and eliminate Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
Jones would have won the tiebreaker, which would have compared homer totals at the break. Obviously, his 27, which match the Cubs' Derrek Lee for the Major League lead, would have been enough compared to Rodriguez's six.
Rodriguez excited his hometown Tigers fans with a spirited run into the finals. But Bobby Abreu responded with 11 in the final round to win the event and make his native Venezuela proud. His 41 homers during the event shattered the record-setting 27 Miguel Tejada hit on his way to the title last year.
Before he'd even hit his first home run of the evening, Jones had registered five of his allotted 10 outs. The first long ball was followed immediately by another two, and it appeared the Braves' star center fielder had found a groove.
But Jones couldn't keep it going and had nine outs before getting his final homer to barely fall over the wall in left-center field. His final pitch was a fastball high and inside that he popped up into shallow left field.
Jones' shortest homer of the evening was also the most profitable for Peter Vitale of Clinton Township, Mich. It landed on the MasterCard "Hit it Here" Banner and thus allowed Vitale to win a new Chevrolet HHR.
Robert Cramer, the vice president of partner and content integration for MasterCard International and Tim Brosnan, executive vice president of business for Major League Baseball, honored Vitale before the final round began.
Jones also launched a golden baseball in his final out to secure a $21,000 donation to charity, one of 14 homers in the contest that netted a total donation of $294,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America from Major League Baseball and CENTURY 21.
Jones showed some of his power with a 450-foot home run deep into the left-field seats. The evening's longest blast belonged to Abreu, who drilled a 517-foot shot during his record-shattering first round in which he hit 24.
Heading into this year's event, the first in which players represented their native countries, the highest one-round total belonged to Tejada, who hit 15 in last year's second round.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.