With father pitching, Bryant savors 1st Derby

Cubs rookie All-Star sets nine-homer pace for Pujols, who finds groove late

With father pitching, Bryant savors 1st Derby

CINCINNATI -- Cubs rookie Kris Bryant hit nine home runs in the first round of the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders on Monday at Great American Ball Park, but the slugger accepted an early exit as he was bested by Albert Pujols of the Angels.

Pujols homered to left field on his final swing to advance to the semifinals and knock out Bryant, whose longest home run was his second of the competition, measuring at 462 feet. Todd Frazier of the Reds was the eventual winner, defeating the Dodgers' Joc Pederson in the final.

Deep goes Frazier! Reds star KOs Derby field

"It was a lot of fun," Bryant said. "I mean, I went up against Albert Pujols, who has had a Hall of Fame career. I have nothing but good things to say about tonight. I just really wanted to have a good time."

Bryant was hitting off his father, Mike, who played Minor League ball as an outfielder in the Red Sox's organization for two seasons in the early 1980s. The 56-year-old estimated that he still throws between 300-400 pitches a day as a hitting instructor.

Mike Bryant on Intentional Talk

"We've talked about this for years," Mike Bryant said. "I said, 'Kris, if you ever make it to the big leagues and they put you in the Home Run Derby as an All-Star, you've got to let me throw to you.' I've been preparing for this for a long time."

Bryant hit his first homer 30 seconds in and called time after four homers and two minutes. He added one, a 425-foot shot, in bonus time.

"Just to have fun with my dad and hit the ball in the air, that was my only strategy," Bryant said. "I was really happy that I just got one. I didn't want to be the guy that didn't get any. Everybody homered, everybody had fun, and I got the chance to meet some really cool people. I can't say enough about tonight."

Bryant's 462-foot blast

Making his Home Run Derby debut just 87 days after his big league debut, shattering a previous record set by Evan Longoria (93 days), Bryant has hit 12 homers this year and was the No. 8 seed in the contest.

He faced a tough assignment against Pujols, who leads the Majors with 26 homers and has hit 546 in his 15-year career.

"Not overwhelming at all; I just wanted to go out there and have fun. I did that," Bryant said. "I think that's what everyone wanted to do, and put on a good show at the same time, hit some homers. And we all did that."

First out of Derby gate, Rizzo enjoys format

Bryant's Cubs teammate, Anthony Rizzo, also sustained a first-round knockout. Rizzo hit eight homers and was defeated by Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays, who cracked nine.

"I did beat [Rizzo], so I guess I kind of have bragging rights," Bryant said.

Rizzo, Bryant on All-Star honors

During the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati on Tuesday, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app.

The 86th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (coverage begins 6 p.m. CT), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.