DETROIT (AP) – Bobby Abreu hit an astounding 24 homers in his first turn at bat Monday night, shattering the Home Run Derby record for one round.

The Philadelphia Phillies right fielder was the first contestant in the event – he also will hit leadoff for the National League in the All-Star game Tuesday night – and he gave fans a spectacular show right from the start. Abreu homered on his first swing and didn’t stop until he obliterated Miguel Tejada’s previous mark of 15 homers in a round, set last year in Houston.

Batting left-handed and teeing off against his own batting practice pitcher from the Phillies, Abreu topped out with a 517-foot shot onto the porch above the back row of right-field bleachers, sending the standing-room crowd scurrying for a souvenir.

It was the third-longest drive in the 20 times this event has been held, behind Sammy Sosa’s 524-foot homer in 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee and Frank Thomas’ 519-footer in 1994 at old Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.

Abreu even chipped his bat on his 21st homer – but the ball still cleared the center-field fence. “See that? Hit it too hard,” he said, before Phillies teammate Jimmy Rollins brought him some new lumber.

Abreu went the other way to left-center for No. 24, then finally made his 10th out after 17 minutes at the plate, ending his turn and prompting a third standing ovation.

So much for spacious Comerica Park being a poor site for a power-hitting contest. In fact, the ball carried very well to right field on a pleasant, 78-degree night.

Representing his home country of Venezuela in baseball’s new international format, Abreu stopped twice to tip his cap to the chanting crowd – and once when Ivan Rodriguez brought him something to drink at home plate.

When Abreu broke Tejada’s mark, Johan Santana and Miguel Cabrera were among the other All-Stars who ran to the plate to drape the slugger in a large Venezuelan flag.

It was an awesome display by one of the most underrated stars in baseball – and maybe a bit intimidating for the other competitors. The next batter, Jason Bay of Canada, was shut out.

AP-ES-07-11-05 2147EDT


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