Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier beat Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, 15-14, in the final round of the 2015 MLB Home Run Derby on July 13. Frazier won the competition in front of a cheering hometown crowd at Great America Ballpark.
Todd Frazier is the 2015 MLB Home Run Derby champion.
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Frazier, the Cincinnati Reds' third baseman, outlasted Los Angeles Dodgers rookie outfielder Joc Pederson in the final round of the 2015 MLB Home Run Derby in front of the hometown fans at Cincinnati's Great America Ballpark on July 13, per MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
The Reds' third baseman was behind by two homers with 40 seconds left. He hit two home runs to tie things up with 10 seconds left to spare, per MLB.com.
Frazier secured the victory when he sent the ball pitched by his brother Charlie to the left-field stands on his first swing in the bonus round, per Sheldon.
Final tally: Frazier 15, Pederson 14.
Frazier, who received the Home Run Derby trophy from MLB executive Joe Torre, told Sheldon the hometown crowd inspired him:
"Just hearing the crowd roar, call my name, adrenaline. And those last minutes of each round really picked me up and (helped me) drive the ball out of the park a lot more. It was a lot of fun. I appreciate that a lot.
"Bringing this hardware home is something I've always wanted to do and it's just an unbelievable feeling. Once I wake up in the morning, understand really what happened, it is going to be exciting to see this in my house."
It was a fitting victory for Frazier, who earned runner-up honors behind then-Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
"I had some unfinished business," Frazier told The Cincinnati Enquirer's Jon Fay. "I put up a poor showing at the end last year."
Sheldon notes Frazier is the first Reds player to be crowned Home Run Derby champion in the competition's 30-year history.
Not only that, Frazier is just the second player representing the home team in the history of the Home Run Derby to emerge victorious. The first was former Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg in 1990, per MLB.com.
Frazier thrived off the new rules for this year's derby which include four-minute rounds and an eight-player single-elimination bracket, per Sheldon. He batted second in every round as the higher seed.
Frazier slipped Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder in the first round when he homered to the left-field stands of Great America Ballpark for his 14th home run which came in bonus time. Fielder finished with 13 home runs, per Sheldon.
Frazier told MLB.com dethroning a two-time Home Run Derby champ in Fielder was a huge accomplishment:
"Two-time champion, that's huge. The format fit well. I honestly didn't know how many I was going to need. Thirteen, in those Derbies now usually gets you past. I started off slow and got into a little groove."
Frazier then rallied to eliminate Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson in the second round, per MLB.com.
Donaldson finished with nine homers. Frazier had eight with a minute left and managed to string together the deciding two home runs within an 11-second span. The 10th homer which finished off Donaldson came as time expired, per Sheldon.
Donaldson told MLB.com Frazier really put on a show for the fans:
"Honest to God, I didn't even know who I was going up against in the second round, but after 30-40 seconds into it, I could start to hear people boo me.
"Then mid-swing, I was like, 'Oh, I'm going up against Frazier.' Good for them. He put on an awesome performance tonight."
Pederson edged top-seeded Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels in the other semifinal round. Pederson finished with 12 home runs while Pujols had 10, unable to get two more to tie the Dodgers rookie in the waning seconds of his turn at bat, per The Cincinnati Enquirer.
In the final round, the 23-year-old Pederson got off to a slow start. He amassed four homers on four swings before calling timeout with 2:29 left. Pederson hit eight more home runs after the timeout, per Fay.
Five of Pederson's home runs were at least 425 feet, per The Cincinnati Enquirer.
To close things off, Frazier told Sheldon he hopes his win can rub off on his Reds, who are struggling with a 39-47 (.453) win-loss record at the All-Star break:
"This is the way you play the game. You play for your family, your friends because you love the game. Your fans are right behind you in your court. We're having a tough year this year, let's be frank.
"Still got a lot of games to go. That Wild Card can come real quick. You saw what the Dodgers did one year. You never know what's going to happen."
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