Hometown favorite Harper rallies to win HR Derby in final roundBy Field Level Media
July 16. 2018 10:57PM
Hometown favorite Bryce Harper of Washington rallied from a slow start in the final round and edged Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs 19-18 to win the Home Run Derby on Monday night at Nationals Park.
Harper is the third player to win the Home Run Derby at his home park, joining Todd Frazier in Cincinnati (2015) and Ryne Sandberg at Wrigley Field in Chicago (1990).
Harper finished second in the 2013 Derby, but things went better this time.
Schwarber went first and banged 18 homers. Harper had just nine with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in his four-minute time frame, but then crushed homers on nine straight swings.
He had earned 30 seconds of extra time to hit and homered on the second pitch from his father, Ron, to win it. Harper said he knew when calling timeout with 1:20 left that things needed to change.
“I I better figure it out or I’m going to lose,” Harper told ESPN.”To be able to do that with [my father] is a dream come true.”
The semifinals began with a battle between Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins of the Philadelphia Phillies. Hoskins opened by blasting 20 homers, the highest number that had been hit to that point.
Schwarber started slowly but picked up steam late during his four-minute run and outlasted Hoskins, 21-20, with the deciding homer coming as time ran out.
“It was a ton of fun,” Schwarber told ESPN.
The other semifinal saw Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers go against Harper. Muncy hit 12 homers, and Harper started slowly before going on a tear and scoring a 13-12 victory — getting the go-ahead homer with 1:11 still left on the clock.
Hoskins, the No. 8 seed, pulled the biggest upset of the first round when he knocked off top-seeded Jesus Aguilar from the Milwaukee Brewers, 17-12, in the first matchup.
Next, Schwarber edged the Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman, 16-15. Muncy followed with another victory by one, 17-16, over Javier Baez of the Cubs.
Harper took on Freddie Freeman from the Atlanta Braves and hit several long shots en route to a 13-12 victory.