Joc Pederson had by far the best Home Run Derby performance in Dodgers history, but fell to hometown hero Todd Frazier of the Reds to win the 2015 MLB Home Run Derby on Monday night at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
Pederson went first in the final round and didn't hit a home run in his first minute, but then unleashed six straight home runs en route to 14 in the final round, tying Frazier's first round for the most in any round on the night to that point.
But Frazier tied Pederson with 14 in his four minutes, with the Cincinnati crowd cheering loudly for each one, then in his 30 seconds of bonus time launched a home run to left field on his first swing to beat Pederson.
The 14 home runs in the final round gave Pederson a whopping 39 home runs on the night.
Johnny Washington served up 39 homers, breaking the franchise record of 38 set by Don Sutton in 1970.— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) July 14, 2015
Pederson also had the longest home run of the night at 487 feet.
The bracketed, head-to-head, single-elimination format is the best thing to happen to the Home Run Derby in years, with an infusion of excitement into each battle in each round.
Pederson's first-round opponent Manny Machado, with old friend Einar Diaz - the former catcher went 2-for-3 for the 2006 Dodgers and is now a bullpen catcher in Baltimore - pitching to him, hit 12 home runs in his four minutes, plus 30 seconds of bonus time.
All Pederson had to do to advance was hit 13 home runs, eight more than any Dodgers player had ever hit in any single Home Run Derby - Hee Seop Choi hit five in 2005 - and three more than the total home runs hit in the previous seven Dodgers appearances in the Home Run Derby combined.
Not only did Pederson move on, with 13 home runs, but he did so in just two minutes, 55 seconds, leaving 65 seconds on the clock (plus an additional 30 seconds of earned bonus time he didn't need to use).
Top 5 longest HR of Round 1 (@statcast) 1. Joc Pederson 487 2. Prince Fielder 474 3. Manny Machado 469 4. Pederson 468 5. Josh Donaldson 465— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 14, 2015
Next up was Albert Pujols, who beat Kris Bryant in the first round 10-9.
Pederson, the No. 4 seed, went first in Round 2 against the top-seeded Pujols, and got off to a rough start. He had three home runs with 2:20 remaining, when he used his 45-second timeout. Pederson hit six more home runs for nine in his allotted four minutes, then three more during his earned 30 seconds of bonus time, for 12 in the second round.
Pujols got off to a hot start with four home runs in his first minute, but eventually slowed down. Pujols ended his four minutes with 10 home runs, needing two in the 30-second bonus time to tie Pederson. Pujols hit one on his first swing, giving him 11, but couldn't hit another one, sending Pederson to the finals against Frazier.
After the second round, Pujols and Pederson embraced, as did Champ Pederson, Joc's brother, whose favorite player is Pujols. It was the most touching moment of the night.