2021 Home Run Derby Results: Pete Alonso Defends Title; Ohtani Upset in 1st Round

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 13, 2021

National League's Pete Alonso, of the New York Mets, cheers during the first round of the MLB All Star baseball Home Run Derby, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Pete Alonso is the king of the long ball.


Alonso won the 2021 Home Run Derby on Monday at Coors Field in Colorado by defeating Trey Mancini in the final round. The champion, who also won in 2019, advanced past Salvador Perez in the first round and Juan Soto in the semifinals before winning the eight-man competition.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

BACK-TO-BACK CHAMP!<br><br>PETE ALONSO REPEATS AS HR DERBY CHAMP 🔥 <a href="https://twitter.com/BRWalkoff?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BRWalkoff</a> <a href="https://t.co/aOVYQQffXN">pic.twitter.com/aOVYQQffXN</a>

Here is a look at the format and how it all went down.


Think March Madness but with long balls.

The 2021 Home Run Derby utilized an eight-man bracket with the players seeded Nos. 1-8. Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani was the top seed, while hometown hero Trevor Story was the No. 7 seed.

ESPN @espn

A look at the bracket ahead of tonight's <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HRDerby?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HRDerby</a>.<br><br>Who's your pick to win it all? <a href="https://t.co/2jIDyHluie">pic.twitter.com/2jIDyHluie</a>

Rather than working with a set number of outs or swings in the one-on-one matchups, the players attempted to hit as many home runs as possible in three-minute time limits in the first two rounds and two minutes in the finals.

Each player had one timeout per round and the opportunity to add 30 seconds to the time limit with a home run of more than 475 feet. Any tiebreaker process was twofold with a one-minute round as the first method and then three-swing swing-offs if there was still a tie.

Opening Round

There was no shortage of storylines heading into the opening round with fans eagerly awaiting how far the homers would fly in the Denver air.

Ohtani, who leads the league with 33 home runs and just so happens to pitch as well, was the headliner, but Alonso had the opportunity to defend his 2019 title and Story had the chance to perform in front of the Colorado Rockies fans.

The drama started right away with Mancini edging Matt Olson 24-23 in the first matchup. Olson's final swing resulted in a potential tying homer going just foul, allowing Mancini—who used a perfectly timed timeout—to advance by the narrowest of margins.

B/R Walk-Off @BRWalkoff

OH NO 😅 <a href="https://t.co/gfzJ13NEgN">pic.twitter.com/gfzJ13NEgN</a>

MLB Stats @MLBStats

.<a href="https://twitter.com/Tstory2?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Tstory2</a>'s 518 ft homer is the longest tracked in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HRDerby?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HRDerby</a> by Statcast, passing Aaron Judge (513 ft) in 2017.

FanGraphs Baseball @fangraphs

Why are the little kids not shifting Joey Gallo

One fan toppled over a railing attempting to catch one of Olson's blasts, and the rest of the crowd got just what it was looking for when Story defeated Joey Gallo 20-19. The Colorado representative launched a 518-foot moonshot, and a late charge from the Texas Rangers slugger fell just short.

And then the Alonso fireworks started.


<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PeteAlonso?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PeteAlonso</a> was fired up! <br><br>He's moving on to the 2nd round! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HRDerby?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HRDerby</a> <a href="https://t.co/YcmqgA0aFb">pic.twitter.com/YcmqgA0aFb</a>

CBS Sports HQ @CBSSportsHQ

Most Home Runs in Single Round in Home Run Derby history:<br><br>Vladimir Guerrero Jr (2019 2nd RD) - 40<br>Joc Pederson (2019 2nd RD) - 39<br>Pete Alonso (2021 1st RD) - 35 <a href="https://t.co/ytKNSEijGp">pic.twitter.com/ytKNSEijGp</a>

br_betting @br_betting

He hit 35 in the first round... 🤯 <a href="https://t.co/EhgviwRKqM">pic.twitter.com/EhgviwRKqM</a>

Sluggerrr @Sluggerrr

We’ll let the <a href="https://twitter.com/Mets?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Mets</a> have this one, we have 2015.

The New York Mets masher put on an absolute show with a stunning 35 home runs in the opening round, leaving Salvador Perez without much of a chance even though he put up a formidable fight with 28. It was quite the opening statement from the defending champion and a reminder of just how dominant he can be in this competition.

It was also quite the opening act for the showdown between Ohtani and Juan Soto.


520 FEET! 😱<br><br>Insane stuff from <a href="https://twitter.com/JuanSoto25_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JuanSoto25_</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HRDerby?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HRDerby</a> <a href="https://t.co/Cz5ugDBbqa">pic.twitter.com/Cz5ugDBbqa</a>

B/R Walk-Off @BRWalkoff

WE WANT ANOTHER ROUND <a href="https://t.co/0sD0eVJU2J">pic.twitter.com/0sD0eVJU2J</a>

Soto drilled a 520-foot homer on his way to 22 long balls just for Ohtani to make a dramatic comeback and force a tiebreaker. On cue, they remained tied after they each hit six homers in the one-minute period, but Soto tapped into his clutch gene and hit a long ball on each of his three swings in the swing-off to advance.

Second Round

It didn't take long into the semifinals for the hometown hero narrative to come to an end, as Mancini eliminated Story with plenty of time to spare by hitting his 13th homer of the round.

While the crowd at Coors Field was cheering for the Rockies shortstop, that Mancini advanced to the championship round was particularly notable considering he completed chemotherapy in September, six months after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

ESPN @espn

TREY MANCINI IS MOVING ON TO THE FINALS 👏<br><br>INCREDIBLE 🙌 <a href="https://t.co/g1Vd5j7hHX">pic.twitter.com/g1Vd5j7hHX</a>

Dan Connolly @danconnolly2016

Mancini to take on Alonso or Soto for the HR Derby title. Regardless if he wins, remember, this time last year he still had about two months worth of chemo treatments. Pretty frigging incredible.

Defeating Alonso in the finals would be quite the task for Mancini, though, especially after the Mets slugger built on his head-turning first-round showing by defeating Soto in the semifinals.

Fatigue appeared to be something of an issue for Soto after his dramatic duel with Ohtani went into multiple tiebreakers.

New York Mets @Mets

He’s an absolute MONSTER! 💪<br><br>On to the FINALS! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LGM?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LGM</a> <a href="https://t.co/v5cNRW4qNB">pic.twitter.com/v5cNRW4qNB</a>

By comparison, Alonso was nodding along to the music and didn't even use his timeout until he had 14 home runs and was just one behind Soto with more than a minute plus the 30-second bonus remaining.


Nothing about the first two rounds suggested Alonso was even remotely beatable in the finals, but Mancini immediately locked in during the shorter finals and finished with 22 home runs.

B/R Walk-Off @BRWalkoff

2️⃣2️⃣ HOME RUNS IN THE FINAL ROUND<br><br>Will it be enough?<br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/MLB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLB</a>) <a href="https://t.co/BCFOPEXbcX">pic.twitter.com/BCFOPEXbcX</a>

Yet seemingly every one of Alonso's swings resulted in a long ball even though he was actually hit by a pitch in the final round.

The Mets star entered his 60 seconds of bonus time with 17 homers and then went into takeover mode by immediately drilling six dingers to win another Home Run Derby.