Bryce Harper electrifies crowd in Home Run Derby

ASSOCIATED PRESS           Washington Nationals Bryce Harper reacts to his winning hit during the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby on Monday in Washington

ASSOCIATED PRESS Washington Nationals Bryce Harper reacts to his winning hit during the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby on Monday in Washington

Harper became the first member of the Nationals to claim the Home Run Derby Crown after slugging 45 homers to defeat Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber in a thrilling final round.

The winning homer came on the second pitch Harper faced, a high-soaring blast over the centerfield wall, and streamers were fired from the top of the ballpark to celebrate the triumph.

As Bryce Harper was besting Schwarber in the Derby's final, Twitter was filled with serious allegations of Home Run Derby misconduct.

Unless you're a die-hard fan of one of the eight players or the seven teams they represented, you - like me - didn't care.

Schwarber racked up 18 home runs, and Harper was barely scraping by during the first half of his plate appearance.

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Harper, who had his dad pitching for him, defeated Max Muncy of the Dodgers in the semifinals to earn a spot in the finals.

"As soon as I got done with that round I told myself that (Harper) had it", Schwarber said. A change to the format in 2015 quickened the pace, and simplified the concept-each player hits as many home runs as he can in four minutes, and the one with the most homers advances.

Although in the grand scheme of things, it is just a novelty event, the atmosphere and the way Harper smoked ball after ball was incredible. Rhys Hoskins put on a show.

There were a few restrictions on Harper's home run promotion. How many home runs would he hit? Hoskins pumped most of his drives into the left-field seats, where it's 336 feet down the line.

Schwarber went on a tear - posting 16 home runs. The difference was the pair of homers that Schwarber hit during 30 seconds of extra time. Muncy outhomered Baez 17-16.

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