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Reds' Todd Frazier wins All-Star Derby in home park

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Reds' Todd Frazier wins All-Star Derby in home park

CINCINNATI (AP) -- "The Toddfather" has a new title. Todd Frazier -- Little League World Series star, Frank Sinatra aficionado -- is baseball's new King of Swing.

The Jersey boy who never seems to get rattled waited until his very last swing -- three times, no less -- to win the All-Star Home Run Derby in his home ballpark on Monday night.

Pressure? Sure didn't show it.

The Reds third baseman became only the second player to win the long-ball competition on his home field Monday night, topping Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson 15-14 with another late surge and one last perfectly timed swing.

"No pressure here with these fans," he said, after accepting the crossed-bats trophy to one more standing ovation at Great American Ball Park.

Frazier joined the Cubs' Ryne Sandberg for home-field homer titles -- the Hall of Fame second baseman did it at Wrigley Field in 1990. After finishing second last year in Minneapolis, this one was as sweet as that winning swing.

"That pushed me a lot," Frazier said. "I wanted to get back here. I'd been working in the offseason a little bit. I'm just glad it was in Cincinnati and they could enjoy it with me."

Pederson was trying to become the first rookie since Wally Joyner in 1986 to win or share the title. He reached the final round by knocking off Albert Pujols, who provided a blast after making the All-Star team for the first time in five years.

"I'm happy for Todd, especially being able to do it in front of his fans," Pujols said. "It's his night. He deserves it. I just hope the fans were pleased and happy with the performance every single guy did. The right guy won, too."

Frazier topped Prince Fielder and Josh Donaldson to reach the finals, where he faced his biggest test. Pederson went first and matched the highest total of the night with 14 homers. Frazier needed a late surge to pull even, tying him with 11 seconds left in his round.

He'd hit enough long homers to earn an extra 30 seconds, giving him a chance to take a few deep breaths, regroup and refocus.

On the first pitch from brother Charlie in extra time, Frazier puffed his cheeks and exhaled as he hit one solidly, then mouthed the words "That's gone" as the ball headed for the left field stands. The ballpark was full of fans with arms raised even before the ball landed.

How's that?

"It was a great environment," Pederson said. "It was extremely humbling being out there with Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols and Josh Donaldson."

And, of course, it ended with a little more Sinatra.

Frazier uses "Fly Me To The Moon" as his music when he walks to the batter's box during games, and it greeted each of his rounds on Monday. When he'd clinched the title, the ballpark rocked with "I Did It My Way."

"I had no clue they were going to do that," Frazier said. "That was pretty nice."

With that, Frazier made it an All-Cincinnati All-Star event so far. Cubs catcher Kyle Schwarber, a Reds fan who grew up in nearby Middletown, Ohio, was the MVP of the Futures Game on Sunday with a two-run triple.

Frazier had been gearing up for the derby all season. He faded badly last year in Minneapolis, reaching the finals before losing to Yoenis Cespedes 9-1. He was so worn out that he could barely hit one at the end, and he planned to pace himself better this time.

He hung in there and added to his lore for big home runs.

Frazier was a member of the 1998 Toms River team in New Jersey that beat Japan for the Little League World Series championship. He had a homer among his four hits in the clinching game.

He loves hitting at Great American Ball Park, which has been one of the majors' most homer-friendly places since it opened in 2003. He ranks among the major league leaders with 25 home runs this season.

There was speculation that one of the All-Stars might knock one into the Ohio River beyond right field -- Adam Dunn is the only one to reach it so far.

No splashdowns. Plenty of drama, though.

Frazier had a tough challenge right away. Fielder was trying to join Ken Griffey Jr. as the only three-time derby champions. Junior watched from foul territory after throwing a ceremonial opening pitch to his father, Ken Sr.

And Fielder wowed `em, hitting 13 homers -- eight of them farther than 425 feet, with one estimated at 474 feet. The home crowd groaned collectively as Frazier came to bat and got off to a very slow start. He called timeout to catch his breath after struggling to hit his first five homers.

He caught up with 5 seconds to go in his allotted time, then connected again on his first swing of extra time to move on.

And there was no stopping him.

MORE ALL-STAR BREAK: Highlights from Harper and Scherzer on All-Star media day

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A quick recap of Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game, including how your Nats did

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USA TODAY Sports

A quick recap of Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game, including how your Nats did

Tuesday evening's All-Star game was fairly uneventful until its later innings. The American League triumphed over the National League, 8 - 6, for their sixth straight All-Star game victory.

Despite fears of potential rain and inclement weather delaying the game, there were no unexpected stops in play. 

The AL started very strong offensively, with runs from Aaron Judge and Mike Trout in the top of the second and third innings, respectively. Jean Segura's three-run homer in the top of the eighth made victory look inevitable for the AL by the fifth. 

Max Scherzer, unsurprisingly, was well received among fans at Nationals Park. The Nats starter pitched the first two innings, giving up four hits. One was Judge's second-inning homer, but Scherzer remained unfazed and lighthearted. Four strikeouts made his performance commendable.

Bryce Harper did not get on as well, striking out in both of his at-bats. After Harper's Home Run Derby win last night, there was chatter of him going for the MVP title as well. 

It didn't work out, but given Harper's consistent presence at the All-Star game, there's always another chance.

Elsewhere in the dugout for the NL, who rallied back from the three-run deficit, the kids were all right. Willson Contreras of the Cubs had a solo homer at the bottom of the third, the Rockies' Trevor Story had one in the seventh, and Christian Yelich added another in the eighth. A two-run homer by Scooter Gennett in the bottom of the ninth brought the game back to a 5-5 tie.

Jesus Aguilar struck out for the NL, and extra innings began.

In the top of the tenth, Alex Bregman and George Springer, both of the Astros, hit home runs almost immediately off of Dodgers pitcher Ross Stipling. Stop us if you've heard that one before.

With no outs, Michael Brantley took a sacrifice flyout to right field, and Jean Segura got in one more run to put the score at 8-5.

Though Joey Votto (Reds) hit one last home run in the bottom of the tenth, the NL couldn't quite make up the deficit.

After a late night, the American League will be going home happy.

MORE ALL-STAR GAME NEWS:

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2018 MLB All-Star Game Live Blog

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USA TODAY Sports

2018 MLB All-Star Game Live Blog

This is the year's most ambitious crossover event in baseball. Dozens of MLB standouts from dozens of teams ally along either the National or American league. The two teams play against each other in a lighthearted frankensquad matchup. It's a welcome change of pace, considering how stressed we are about the Nationals' win percentage.

At the moment, we're keeping our eyes to the sky to monitor incoming rain. Aside from the threat of rain delay, we're excited to see how things unfold.

TOP 10 - Yikes, uh, so that's two solo home runs, and still no outs?

BOT 9 - A lot of people have either Bad Bunny or Post Malone as their walk up music. Also, uh, Scooter did a two-run homer, so now we're going to extra innings.

TOP 9 - Nothing is happening. Yawn.

BOT 8 - Yelich homers! We love one Brewer! It's 5-3 AL.

TOP 8 - Segura hits a three-run homer. Cruz adds it to his Instagram story. The AL is up 5-2. Yikes.

TOP 8 - Blackmon is very charming when mic'd up. He's talking about how lonely the outfield is. In other adjacent boredom news, Mike Trout follows over 145 weather related accounts on twitter. Yes, we went through his 2,400 user long following list to check.

BOT 7 - Bottoms tend to be the most exciting. Arenado knows this. So he tied it with a solo homer.

TOP 7 - Please, we are all so tired, and this pace is so slow. Votto has a nice tag, Yelich loses a ball in the lights but still makes the out. 

BOT 6 - Everybody Hates The National League. Votto, Yelich, and Blackmon all come up short.

INT 6 - Everyone on the internet and the broadcast loses their minds over Manny Machado.

TOP 6 - Nelson Cruz goes up against pitcher Jeremy Jeffress to start the inning. We take a brief pause for another selfie. Isn't it kind of a bad idea to have your phone in your pocket when you're at bat? Anyway. Bregman hits a double, but is immediately outshined as we go to Manny Machado for an interview about how it feels to wear an Orioles uniform for (maybe) the last time. Limor pinch hits for Machado, and doesn't quite get it out of the park. Oh well.

BOT 5 - Contreras gets a hit off Jose Berrios and promptly gets tagged first. Javier Baez looks amazing at the plate, but flies out. Arenado walks. Trout-man catches Molina's almost-homer. NL, do better please.

TOP 5 - Aaron Nola strikes out Brandon Crawford fairly easily and Mookie Betts not so easily. Mike Trout, who looks like he would post pictures with trout and other fish on Instagram, pops up and across the first base line. Sorry AL.

BOT 4 - Bryce Harper faces Blake Snell and strikes out for the second time tonight. Maybe he thought tonight was a Strikeout Derby?

TOP 4 - Machado pops up to the third baseman in what may be his final at-bat wearing an Orioles uniform.

TOP 4 - Matt Kemp deftly avoids tampering charges when the FOX broadcast crew asks him about his selfie with Machado.

BOT 2 - Manny begins acquainting himself with his LA teammates.

BOT 2 - Chris Sale only stuck around for one inning, apparently. It's Luis Severino time in D.C. He allows a double from Matt Kemp to start but then strikes out Bryce Harper. 

TOP 2 - Aaron Judge takes Scherzer deep. 1-0 AL. Sigh.

BOT 1 - AL Starter Chris Sale responds with a scoreless frame of his own. We're on our way to that 3-2 thriller after all!!! 

TOP 1 - Scherzer strikes out Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve before walking Mike Trout (can't blame him) and allowing a hit to J.D. Martinez. No damage done though, and it's 0-0. 

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