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Muncy enjoys 'incredible' show at Derby

Dodgers slugger bests Baez in Round 1, falls to champion Harper in semis
MLB.com @RichardJustice

WASHINGTON -- Max Muncy stood there Monday night and watched as the crowd roared and Bryce Harper kept mashing breathtaking home runs into the muggy evening air. At some point, he realized he was witnessing something he would remember for the rest of his career.

"The show Harper put on in front of his home fans, that was so great for baseball, just seeing what he could do," Muncy said. "It's hard to be mad that he beat you when you see a show like that and how they reacted. It was incredible."

WASHINGTON -- Max Muncy stood there Monday night and watched as the crowd roared and Bryce Harper kept mashing breathtaking home runs into the muggy evening air. At some point, he realized he was witnessing something he would remember for the rest of his career.

"The show Harper put on in front of his home fans, that was so great for baseball, just seeing what he could do," Muncy said. "It's hard to be mad that he beat you when you see a show like that and how they reacted. It was incredible."

Muncy had himself a special night as well. His season has been a magical ride, and nothing changed with his first appearance in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.

Video: HRD Rd1: Muncy cranks 435-foot long ball in Round 1

Muncy unleashed a flurry of booming home runs to rally past the Cubs' Javier Baez, 17-16, in the first round of the event. He blasted 12 more in the semifinals, but fell to hometown favorite Harper of the Nationals, who advanced to the finals with 13 and ultimately won.

"It was incredible," Muncy said. "It's hard to explain. It was so much fun being out there with all the guys. It was unbelievable -- music going, guys out there cheering, fans are cheering. It was a great experience."

All this from a guy who began the season in Triple-A with five career home runs in the Majors. He had 22 in the first half for the Dodgers and showed off that power in his first-round matchup.

"I loved it," Muncy said. "It was a good time. It makes me hungry to get back here next year and actually be on the [National League All-Star] team."

Video: HRD Rd2: Muncy launches 12 home runs in Round 2

He knew Harper had special incentive by playing in his home yard and riding the energy of a packed Nationals Park. Afterward, Muncy was asked if he felt like someone sent to the lion's den.

"Of course," he said. "I think there were some boos in the stands as I was going up to the plate. When you get the fans cheering for you, you really get the energy, especially in those later rounds. You're exhausted. An energy going through you is what you need."

In the first-round matchup, Baez went first and got into a nice groove to finish with 16. But Muncy stepped in and bested him. He took his break after his eighth homer, a low liner down the right-field line.

He returned and hit a series of moonshots, getting the winner with 35 seconds to go on the clock. He was embraced by his teammates and by Baez when it was over.

Video: HRD Rd1: Muncy moves on after launching his 17th HR

He was embraced again after the second-round matchup, then stayed and watched -- cheered for -- Harper in the semis. All in all, the trip had been almost everything he could have hoped for.

"Starting the year in Triple-A and coming up, you never expect something like this," he said. "The way the year's gone, it's been such an incredible ride. Hopefully, it's not over. Hopefully, we've got a long way to go, and we'll be playing baseball until late October."

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Max Muncy