By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
11:39 PM EDT, July 15, 2013
NEW YORK -- Orioles slugger Chris Davis didn't put on the longball show he was hoping for in Monday night's Home Run Derby.
After smacking eight in the first round to advance, the majors' home run leader cleared the wall just four times in 14 swings in the second round to fall out of contention. The Oakland Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes had 17 in the first round — more than Davis' combined 12 in two rounds — and went on to win, defeating the Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper in the final.
“I kept looking up there and seeing 17 and thinking, ‘Man. That's a long ways to get to,'” Davis said. “Those outs creep up on you pretty fast. But what he did was unbelievable.”
Davis, the eighth Oriole to participate in the Home Run Derby, was tied for second after the first round with Harper. But early in the second round he opened a blister in his right hand. (Davis doesn't expect it to be a concern for tonight's All-Star Game or beyond.)
“I just had a blister and it blew up and opened on me. It's something that happens once a year. Not a big deal,” he said. “It's like right in the middle of my palm. I've had this happen before. I think I've had it, actually, every year I've played. It comes with the territory. The way I hold my bat. The knob's in between my ring finger and my pinkie finger and it's just kind of part of it.”
In Round 2, Davis — who took his swings against Orioles' extra coach and batting practice pitcher Einar Diaz — hit consecutive homers just once. He took a break with eight outs to talk with teammate Adam Jones, to get some water and switch batting gloves.
“We just messed around,” Davis said. “He was telling me to take my time. I told him, I said, ‘Hey, if I motion over to you, bring me my batting gloves because they have a pad in them.'”
The brief respite didn't help, as Davis fouled off his final two attempts and was eliminated. Davis' longest homer came in the second round, a 461-foot shot to right-center. He also had a 451-foot homer in the first round.
Davis — considered the betting favorite heading into the event — was the first Oriole in the Derby since Miguel Tejada was eliminated in the first round in 2006.
The Orioles have had just two champions: Tejada in 2004 in Houston and Cal Ripken Jr. in 1991 in Toronto.
Although he couldn't join their company, Davis said he enjoyed the experience.
“Awesome,” he said. “It is definitely something I am glad I did, get out there and do something I've really dreamed about my whole life. And it didn't let me down, not disappointed in any way.”
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