Derby champ Bryce Harper is hometown home run hero

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jul 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-16 23:13:02-04

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals competes in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – It was a HOME run.

Monday, Bryce Harper out-duels seven other sluggers to win Major League Baseball’s 2018 Home Run Derby. It’s Harper’s first ever Home Run Derby title – and it comes in his home ballpark: Nationals Park.

Harper, participating in the Home Run Derby for the first time since 2013 – and only because it’s taking place in his home park, smashed 45 homers in all – using 19 of those to beat Chicago’s Kyle Schwarber 19-18 in the final.

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Faced with Schwarber’s big total, Harper got off to a relatively slow start, with just four homers before calling his first timeout with 2:38 to go. As the clock ticked under a minute, Harper did have a 30-second bonus in the bag, but he still had an uphill battle in front of him. All of a sudden, he flipped the switch. The Nats star demolished nine homers in the final 50 seconds of regulation to pull even with Schwarber. Then came the 30-second bonus, and Harper took advantage, launching the walk-off bomb to dead center field on his second swing, then lifting and tossing the bat in celebration as the home crowd went nuts.