07/10/07 12:17 AM ET
Morneau's four Derby homers fall short
Twins first baseman can't beat Pujols for final spot in semifinals
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
Each contestant got five swings to hit the most homers to earn a spot in the semifinals. Morneau hit one homer in his final swing, while Pujols hit back-to-back homers in his first two attempts.For Morneau, he said that the lack of success during the Swingoff was in large part due to his thinking that four homers would not get him to the second round. "I did not think I was going to hit again, so I sat there until I got up to go hit in the Swingoff," Morneau said. "It's probably my own fault. I didn't think four home runs was going to make it to the tiebreaker, so I just sat there and had to try to get loose quickly. Once I got loose, my round was over. But it was a good experience." In addition to Morneau, the Brewers' Prince Fielder (three homers), the Tigers' Magglio Ordonez (two) and the Phillies' Ryan Howard (two), the defending Home Run Derby champ, were all eliminated in the first round. The wind is always a big factor at AT&T Park, and earlier in the day, Morneau and the other hitters said it likely would determine whether lefties would have an advantage hitting in this park. And with McCovey Cove sitting just over the left-field wall, many had wondered just how many balls would be hit to the numerous rafts and kayaks waiting out there. But only one homer made it into McCovey Cove on Monday -- a Fielder drive that barely cleared the Portwalk that separates the outside wall of the ballpark and the Cove. But in the end, it was the right-handers that had the advantage on the day. All four finalists were right-handers, and there were plenty of homers hit deep into the left-field stands. Despite the pressure of the hyped-up event, Morneau said that he didn't let that get to him. Instead, he took the whole experience for what it was -- fun. And now he's turning his focus to trying to help the American League squad pull out yet another victory in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night. "This was fun," Morneau said of the Derby. "I got up there and wasn't nervous. I was just enjoying it. It's a little different when you are up there in a game situation. With the Derby it's nice to win it, but the game is what you are here for -- to compete and win it."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.