The turbulent skies above Great American Ball Park cleared just long enough to allow Major League Baseball's 2015 Home Run Derby to proceed as scheduled, albeit with some slight modifications:
Though the storm had momentarily stopped, the thunder and lightning continued in the park as the league's eight chosen hitters combined to set a new Derby record, more than doubling last year's output, per ESPN Stats & Info:
It was a night filled with record-breaking and history-making performances, while the sold-out crowd became just the second to ever witness a hometown slugger—Reds third baseman Todd Frazier—capture the crown:
Here's a complete list of the results before we get into a brief round-by-round recap:
|2015 Home Run Derby Results|
|First-Round Matchup||Winner||Loser||Score||Longest HR|
|(3) Josh Donaldson vs. (6) Anthony Rizzo||Josh Donaldson||Anthony Rizzo||9-8||Donaldson: 465-ft.|
|(2) Todd Frazier vs. (7) Prince Fielder||Todd Frazier||Prince Fielder||14-13||Fielder: 474-ft.|
|(4) Joc Pederson vs. (5) Manny Machado||Joc Pederson||Manny Machado||13-12||Pederson: 487-ft.|
|(1) Albert Pujols vs. (8) Kris Bryant||Albert Pujols||Kris Bryant||10-9||Bryant: 462-ft.|
|(2) Todd Frazier vs. (3) Josh Donaldson||Todd Frazier||Josh Donaldson||10-9||Donaldson: 450-ft.|
|(1) Albert Pujols vs. (4) Joc Pederson||Joc Pederson||Albert Pujols||12-11||Pederson: 448-ft.|
|(2) Todd Frazier vs. (4) Josh Donaldson||Todd Frazier||Josh Donaldson||15-14||Pederson: 461|
(3) Josh Donaldson defeats (6) Anthony Rizzo, 9-8
Rizzo had the unfortunate distinction of being the test dummy for the night. The Cubs first baseman was the first player to try his hand at the newly installed Home Run Derby format, and he came away with the lowest single-round total (eight) of the night.
Donaldson was able to take a more strategic approach, getting off to a fast start with some mammoth blasts, including a 465-foot shot for his fifth of the round.
The Toronto All-Star tied Rizzo's total with just over 1:30 left in the round, but didn't hit his ninth for over another minute.
(2) Todd Frazier defeats (7) Prince Fielder, 14-13
This was when the fun really began. Fielder came out and started hulking shots deep around the park. His gargantuan frame and powerful swing had him nearly falling out of the batter's box on each attempt, but a high bar had been set for the hometown kid to surpass.
Frazier was living life on the edge all night, but his first-round work prepared him for the exhausting battles ahead.
Fourteen seemed like too tall a task, especially when Frazier took his timeout with 2:37 left in the round with just five total home runs. But the break rejuvenated him, and the home crowd seemed to energize the 29-year-old.
Frazier hit 13 shots in regulation, blasting his last just as time expired. He then wasted no needless energy in the bonus round, smashing a 455-foot round-winner on his first swing.
(4) Joc Pederson defeats (5) Manny Machado, 13-12
Machado got off to a solid start with five home runs in the first two minutes, though none of them were exactly awe-inspiring. But then the Orioles third baseman found his groove, hitting two blasts over 461-feet, including a 469-foot bomb for his final regulation home run.
Machado made the most of his bonus time, smacking two dingers on his first two swings to finish with 12.
Unfortunately for Machado, his opponent was Joc Pederson, who put on an absolutely mind-boggling performance throughout the evening.
Pederson didn't even need a full three minutes to surpass Machado, and his 487-foot shot into space might have actually caught up with NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto for a brief moment.
The 23-year-old put the entire field on notice with his first-round masterpiece.
(1) Albert Pujols defeats (8) Kris Bryant, 10-9
It was a poor showing for both Chicago Cubs players involved in the Home Run Derby, as neither were able to outshine their first-round opponent.
Bryant was able to find some small grooves, but he was never able to maintain a long stretch of strong swings.
Pujols, 12 years Bryant's elder, never pressed throughout the round, taking his time and stepping away to maintain his composure and stamina.
The three-time MVP calmly stepped back into the box as time ran out and jacked the first buzzer-beater home run in MLB history.
It wouldn't be the last.
(2) Frazier defeats (3) Donaldson, 10-9
Donaldson appeared to lose a lot of steam following his opening performance. He blasted a home run on his first swing of the round, but he could only hit seven more in regulation before smacking one off the foul pole during bonus time.
With just nine home runs up on the board and Frazier walking to the plate, the Cincinnati fans hit a fervor louder than the massive thunderstorms that had blanketed the region just hours ago.
The New Jersey native had become the favorite son of Cinci as he grinded his way to nine home runs with just under 10 seconds left.
His final shot came just as time expired, with the ball crossing the fence as the clock hit zero.
Pujols' buzzer-beater was exciting, but in front of thousands of Reds fans, Frazier's was legendary.
(4) Pederson defeats (1) Pujols, 12-11
Pederson appeared to be losing energy after his tremendous first-round performance. The rookie ended regulation with just nine home runs, seemingly not enough to defeat a slugger of Pujols' caliber.
Luckily for Pederson, he earned 30 seconds of bonus time, which he used as well as anyone on this night. With just four swings, Joc jettisoned three balls into the bleachers, bringing his total up to 12.
Pujols appeared to be in a good position to pass or tie his young foe, but it appeared he had some issues with condensation on his batting gloves. Most of his hits during the final minute barely approached the deep outfield.
His first swing of the bonus round was a bomb, bringing his total to 11. But Pujols was gassed after that and simply couldn't will another ball out of the yard.
Pujols gracefully bowed out, while Joc continued to jam on into the finals.
(2) Frazier defeats (4) Pederson, 15-14
What. A. Finale.
At one point, Pederson had hit six consecutive home runs, drawing a mixture of ominous silence and fleeting boos from the Reds-heavy crowd.
With 14 home runs on the board next to Pederson's name, hope looked lost.
But Frazier opened strong, cranking four home runs out in the first minute of his round as the crowd feverishly chanted his name.
Frazier had just six home runs with under two minutes to go, but he once again found his energy and fed off the crowd en route to a Joc-tying 14 home runs.
His first swing of the bonus round left the confines of the park in a hurry, as Frazier turned to embrace Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. He then found his WWE title belt and saluted the boisterous crowd.
The thunder and lightning and heavy rain would return later, but Frazier had weathered the in-game storm to become this year's 2015 Home Run Derby champion, and in the process became a Cincinnati baseball folk hero.