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Former Florida Gators star Pete Alonso upstages Vlad Jr to win the home run derby

Mets’ Alonso talks about ‘surreal’ experience of winning Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso talks about beating Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the finals to win the MLB's 2019 Home Run Derby.
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Pete Alonso talks about beating Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the finals to win the MLB's 2019 Home Run Derby.

For two rounds, Vlad Guerrero Jr. looked unstoppable in the 2019 Home Run Derby on Monday night.

The New York Mets’ Pete Alonso barely edged his way through his first two rounds of the competition to make it to the finals to face the Toronto Blue Jays’ budding star.

But with Guerrero possibly tired by his epic semifinal that ended 20 minutes earlier, Alonso and his slow-and-steady approach proved to be enough.

Alonso, the competition’s No. 2 seed, won the battle of the rookies in the final, edging Guerrero 23-22 to take the Home Run Derby crown at Progressive Field.

“It doesn’t matter how much jelly’s in the jar,” Alonso said earlier in the day. “It matters how you spread it on your English muffins. It’s a long, long event. It can get long if you advance. Conserve your energy. That’s the main thing.”

Alonso did just that.

The power-hitting first baseman defeated Carlos Santana 14-13 in the first round and Acuna 20-19 in the semifinals. Both of Alonso’s wins came with last-second home runs.

But in the end, it was enough to get him to the finals, where he once again narrowly defeated his opponent.

It didn’t matter that Guerrero, the No. 8 seed and the youngest player to ever compete in the derby, belted out a record 91 home runs over his three rounds, including 40 in an epic semifinal matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson that included a tiebreaker and two swing-offs.

Alonso pulled off the comeback in the final. He conserved his energy.

He won the home run derby.

Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.