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Runner-up Schwarber hits Derby-high 55 HRs

Cubs OF edged out by hometown hero Harper in memorable showing
MLB.com @feinsand

WASHINGTON -- Kyle Schwarber hit more home runs than anyone else in Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby, but unfortunately for the Cubs slugger, Bryce Harper hit one more when it counted most.

Schwarber, who clubbed 55 homers on the night, fell to the Nationals' hometown hero in a memorable final round, 19-18, as Harper hit a walk-off homer in bonus time to snap the tie and win the event in front of a packed house at Nationals Park.

WASHINGTON -- Kyle Schwarber hit more home runs than anyone else in Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby, but unfortunately for the Cubs slugger, Bryce Harper hit one more when it counted most.

Schwarber, who clubbed 55 homers on the night, fell to the Nationals' hometown hero in a memorable final round, 19-18, as Harper hit a walk-off homer in bonus time to snap the tie and win the event in front of a packed house at Nationals Park.

"That's an experience right there, taking all those swings in a short amount of time," Schwarber said. "I ran out of gas a little bit at the end, but I thought I still put up a good number. Bryce did a really good job there at the end. He had the whole crowd behind him; that was a really cool experience. I'm happy for him."

Schwarber had disposed of Houston's Alex Bregman and Philadelphia's Rhys Hoskins in the first two rounds to earn a head-to-head meeting with Harper in the finals. 

Video: HRD Rd1: Schwarber slugs 16 home runs in Round 1

"I was really excited to see him in the finals with Harper," said Javier Baez, who fell to the Dodgers' Max Muncy in the first round. "They put on a great show."

Schwarber hit 14 home runs in his four minutes of allotted time in the opening round, though he earned a 30-second bonus thanks to a number of prodigious blasts that topped the 440-foot mark. He hit a pair of monster shots in the extra time, giving him 16 for the round. 

Video: HRD Rd1: Schwarber slugs 450-foot long HR in Round 1

Bregman made things interesting, hitting four homers in five swings down the stretch as he got to 15 with only a few swings left. 

Bregman looked to have a chance to tie Schwarber on his final swing, but the ball hit the top of the wall in left-center, ending his night as Schwarber advanced to the semifinals to face Hoskins.

"My heart was pounding," Schwarber said. "I was like, 'Man, Bregman's going to knock me out in the first round!' He's one of my good friends. He went out there and made it close; that last swing was definitely scary."

Hoskins belted 20 home runs in his semifinal round, presenting Schwarber with a tall task to get to the finals. 

Video: HRD Rd2: Schwarber hits 21 homers to advance to Final

"Rhys put up a really big number in that second round," Schwarber said. "I was like, 'Man, I've got to get after it.'"

Schwarber started out slowly, hitting only one home run in his first eight swings. But a pair of five-homer stretches and a well-timed timeout got him back in the groove. A couple of long blasts earned him a 30-second bonus, and Schwarber went on another big run, hitting five in a row for a third time in the round.

"Once we started hitting a roll, I was getting into it and the crowd was getting into it," Schwarber said. 

Six of Schwarber's final seven swings in the round left the yard, including the walk-off homer. Schwarber celebrated his second-round win with an epic bat flip on his 21st home run, then embraced Hoskins as the two men showed respect for each other's extraordinary display of power. 

Video: HRD Rd2: Schwarber crushes 462-foot homer in Round 2

The last hurdle for Schwarber was Harper, who kept the hometown crowd on its feet with wins against Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and Muncy, each by a score of 13-12.

"Washington was on point tonight, cheering everyone on," Schwarber said. "I was down in the tunnel saying, 'If we get to the finals against Harper, they're all going to be against me.' What do you know? I went out there and got booed after they had gotten all pumped up for me. That's the beauty of it."

Schwarber hit five home runs in the first minute of his final round, earning the bonus time in the first 60 seconds with a pair of blasts that exceeded 440 feet each. He took the first of his two timeouts with 2:50 remaining, getting a hug and some words of encouragement from Baez.

Video: HRD Rd3: Schwarber clubs 453-ft. homer in the Finals

Schwarber hit home runs on four straight swings shortly after the break, giving him nine. He appeared to be tiring as he came up short on six straight swings, prompting him to use his final timeout with 1:49 left on the clock.

This time, it was Cubs catcher Willson Contreras giving Schwarber a pep talk, though he went deep on only one of his next six swings. 

But Schwarber continued his streaky ways, belting five homers on his next six swings, including a run of four straight -- two of them settling in the third deck in right field. He hit two more homers in regulation and added another in the bonus time, giving him 18 for the final round.

Tweet from @kschwarb12: What a show by @Bharper3407! @Nationals Park was rockin! Ran out of gas at the end but hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did! Thank you for the opportunity and see you in Chicago!

 "At the end, I felt like I was swinging at everything," Schwarber said. "I was running out of gas and felt like I had to put up as many swings as I could just to put a couple out."

Harper started out slowly in the finals and had only nine home runs with 1:20 remaining on the clock, but after taking his second timeout, the former National League MVP got on a roll, belting eight straight homers at one point. He tied Schwarber on his final swing of regulation, then won the Derby with his first home run in bonus time. 

"I just sat back and was enjoying the show," Schwarber said. "You just kind of accept your fate there. It didn't really matter at that point. What an experience; I felt like we, as players, had done our duty to put on a really good show throughout the whole Derby. If I won, I won. If I didn't, I didn't. I was just enjoying the moment there."

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

Chicago Cubs, Kyle Schwarber