SEATTLE — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. eliminated record-setting hometown favorite Julio Rodriguez in the semifinals and then made history of his own Monday night.
The Toronto Blue Jays slugger beat Tampa Bay's Randy Arozarena 25-23 in the finals to win the 2023 Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park, completing the first father-son duo to claim Derby titles. Vladimir Sr. won the Derby in 2007 as a member of the Angels.
"I feel very happy," Guerrero Jr. said on the field after Arozarena fell two homers short of matching him. "I'm just happy to be in this moment right now."
Guerrero Jr. nearly accomplished the feat in his first appearance in 2019, losing to Pete Alonso in the finals. Four years later he proved he had learned from that experience, using his timeouts wisely en route to winning all three of his matchups.
Trying to become only the fourth player to win the Derby in his own ballpark, Seattle's Julio Rodriguez ran out of gas for the second consecutive year. After clubbing a single-round record 41 homers in the first round, the seventh seed managed only 20 in the semifinals.
Guerrero Jr. matched that total during regulation, then walked off the win with his 21st homer with 43 seconds remaining in his bonus time.
After opening with 24 homers, good for only fifth most in the first round, Arozarena put on a display by smashing 35 in the semifinals. He easily dispatched top-seeded Luis Robert Jr., with the Chicago White Sox star fading after a decent start to finish with 22 long balls.
The fifth-seeded Arozarena kicked off the event by eliminating Texas' fourth seed Adolis Garcia, but the competition picked up in earnest when Adley Rutschman stepped to the plate.
Baltimore's second-year star catcher smashed 21 home runs from the left side in regulation. The only non-right-handed hitter in the contest, Rutschman brought cheers from the crowd when he switched to the right side for his 60 seconds of bonus time. The former Oregon State star then clubbed six more for a total of 27.
"It was kind of on the fly, we were debating about whether to do it," the eighth seed said.
However, the mark didn't last long, with Robert equaling it during regulation and walking off after hitting his 28th homer during his bonus time.
Sixth-seeded Guerrero easily eliminated No. 3 seed Mookie Betts, with the Los Angeles Dodgers' star managing only 11 homers to the Toronto slugger's 26.
The momentary lull from Betts' session was quickly followed by fireworks.
Rodriguez blasted 32 home runs in regulation — four more than anyone else in the first round managed including bonus time. Needing eight in 60 seconds to set the single-round Derby record, Rodriguez smashed nine more for a total of 41, bringing a roar with each one from the sellout crowd of 46,952.
That didn't guarantee a spot in the next round with two-time Derby champion Alonso the final batter of the first round. Attempting to join Seattle legend Ken Griffey Jr. as the only three-time champions, Alonso started strong before fading and finishing with 21 homers — falling to Rodriguez for the second consecutive year.
Despite failing to get out of the first round, Alonso did add to his all-time Derby home run lead — the Mets' slugger now has 195 in four career appearances. Rodriguez has 142 in five combined rounds through his first two appearances.
2023 Home Run Derby results
No. 5 Randy Arozarena (24) d. No. 4 Adolis Garcia (17)
No. 1 Luis Robert Jr. (28) d. No. 8 Adley Rutschman (27)
No. 6 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (26) d. No. 3 Mookie Betts (11)
No. 7 Julio Rodriguez (41) d. No. 2 Pete Alonso (21)
No. 5 Randy Arozarena (35) d. No. 1 Luis Robert Jr. (22)
No. 6 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (21) d. No. 7 Julio Rodriguez (20)
No. 6 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (25) d. No. 5 Randy Arozarena (23)