Fans storm field after Acuña wows crowd

November 29th, 2022

put on a show alongside a handful of fellow Major Leaguers on Monday night in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League Home Run Derby at Estadio Universitario de Caracas.

Acuña, who participated in the T-Mobile MLB Home Run Derby in 2019 and 2022, hit the winning homer on Monday with more than a minute remaining on the clock. As soon as the decisive shot cleared the wall, he took off running onto the field and was mobbed by spectators and competitors in a celebration that spread into the outfield.

Acuña edged out Giants prospect Diego Rincones in the final round. The 10-player tournament also included big leaguers Willson Contreras, Eduardo Escobar, William Contreras, Eugenio Suárez, Jose Altuve, Gleyber Torres and Juan Yepez. Former Minor Leaguer and current Mexican League slugger Balbino Fuenmayor rounded out the field.

In the head-to-head opening round, Willson Contreras eliminated Escobar while his brother, William, knocked out Suárez. The other matchups saw Rincones beat Altuve, while Fuenmayor topped Torres and Acuña moved past Yepez.

Those five winners advanced to the semifinals, where the two players to hit the most home runs advanced to the final round. Acuña and Rincones each hit 12 homers, while the Contreras brothers and Fuenmayor all hit 10 apiece.

Rincones went first in the finals, hitting five home runs -- which proved to be easy work for Acuña. The Braves superstar took his final swing with one minute and 16 seconds remaining on the clock, sending his sixth homer to straightaway center field.

Acuña has also had some success in his previous Home Run Derby performances. In 2019, he hit 25 home runs in the opening round to defeat the Pirates' Josh Bell before losing in the semifinals, 20-19, to eventual champion Pete Alonso. The Mets' first baseman again bested Acuña -- by the same 20-19 score, no less -- in the opening round of the '22 Derby at Dodger Stadium.

But the third time was the charm for Acuña as he cruised to the Venezuelan title.