Bell Makes Early Exit in Exciting Home Run Derby

Pirates slugger falls out in first round, pair of rookies steal the show in Cleveland.

Noah Hiles
July 08, 2019 - 11:42 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND (93.7 The Fan) – Despite being the favorite in Las Vegas, Pirates slugger Josh Bell had an early exit in a very memorable home run derby on Monday night.

Bell had is work cut out for him when he stepped to the plate, after Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. mashed 25 homers to kick things off. A slow start proved to be too much for Bell to overcome, as he finished the opening round with 18 long balls, bowing out to Acuna in the first round.

“(Acuna) was smashing balls all over the field,” Bell said about his opponent after contest. “I feel like I put on a decent show. It is something I can look back on and smile about.”

On a night filled with many home runs and even more history, in the end it was a pair of Rookies who stole the show in the 34th annual home run derby. Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso edged out Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr in the last 30 seconds of the final round, winning 23-22 and taking home the $1 million prize.

“What (Alonso) did that last round was lights out,” said Bell. “He locked it in and took everything home. It was awesome to watch.”

Ironically enough, Alonso’s final minute victory was nowhere close to the most exciting moment in the night. That would belong to the semi final matchup between Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After tying at 29 homers each at the end of their rounds, it would take an additional three rounds of overtime to determine a winner. Guerrero defeated Pederson by a final score of 40-39 after a one minute overtime playoff and two best of three “swing-offs”.

“The whole Vlad verses Joc showdown really took the cake for me tonight,” said Bell, who enjoyed being a spectator with the rest of the All Star’s after being eliminated.

40 homers in one round was just one of a few records set by Guerrero Jr. on Monday night. The 20 year-old son of hall of fame outfielder, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. finished the contest with a total of 91 homers, shattering the previous record set by Gincarlo Stanton in 2016 (61).

With the derby now over, the focus now shifts to the tomorrow’s All Star game where Bell will start for the National League at designated hitter and bat sixth. Other Pirates All Star Felipe Vazquez is also expected to pitch for the National League in the 90th annual mid-summer classic.