The Sano storm in Miami was stopped just shy of a full-on blizzard.
After knocking out Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas and New York’s Gary Sanchez in the first two rounds, Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano lost 11-10 in the 2017 Home Run Derby finals to Yankees rookie phenom Aaron Judge.
Sano launched 11 homers in each of the first two rounds, but he got off to a slow start in the finals. The 24-year-old slugger hit just one homer in the round’s opening 86 seconds, struggling to find an early rhythm with pitcher Fernando Tatis.
He rallied to hit five homers in his last five swings to finish with 10, but it wasn’t enough to beat Judge.
Judge, who leads Major League Baseball with 30 home runs this season and was the No. 2 seed in the derby, hit 11 homers with 1:34 remaining on the clock to win.
Sano would have become the first Twins player to win the Home Run Derby since Justin Morneau in 2008.
Sano’s longest bomb of the finals was measured at 449 feet, and he hit for an exit velocity of 110 miles per hour three times. Judge, on the other hand, launched one 480 feet in the finals. The Yankees outfielder accounted for the four longest homers of the night — 513, 507, 504 and 501 feet — all smacked in the first two rounds.
In the first round of the bracket-style tournament, Sano led off the night by taking down No. 4 seed Moustakas, 11-10.
Sano blasted nine homers in the four-minute period and added two more in the 30-second bonus round to top his division rival and advance to the semifinals.
Sano’s longest home run in the quarterfinals traveled 470 feet. His hardest-hit ball had an exit velocity of 112 miles per hour.
Moustakas’ total was at 10 with a minute left on the clock, but he ran out of gas and couldn’t knock out an 11th to tie the Twins slugger.
To earn the 30-second bonus time, a player had to hit at least two homers over 440 feet. Sano blasted three, while Moustakas only hammered one (although the Royals slugger hit another ball 437 feet … so close).
Sano hit the home run sculpture (yes, that gaudy structure in left-center field that looks like it belongs in a theme park) twice.
Sano edged out Yankees’ Sanchez in the second round by a score of 11-10.
Sanchez, who upset No. 1 seed and defending champion Giancarlo Stanton 17-16 in the first round, couldn’t find the same stroke in the semifinals.
Sano’s longest homer of the round measured at 491 feet, which turned out to be the seventh-longest dinger of the night. Five of his home runs traveled 440 feet or more, and his top exit velocity was 113 miles per hour. In total, his 11 home runs traveled a combined 4,829 feet.
Sanchez also hit five blasts over 440 feet — including one at 487 feet — but came up short.
The second round put Sano’s total for the night at 22, which, of course, is his jersey number. Was this the plan after all?
The Home Run Derby wasn’t the first time Sano has topped Sanchez in his career. Back in 2009, Sanchez signed with the Yankees for $3 million at the age of 15. A 16-year-old Sano one-upped that, signing with the Twins for a then-record $3.19 million.
After advancing to the final round, Sano had some inspiring words for fans around Twins Territory.