MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton surrendered his T-Mobile Home Run Derby title in the first round on Monday night, but not before putting on a gallant comeback attempt that included some monstrous blasts.
The top seed in the field of eight at Marlins Park, Stanton took his swings after Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, seeded eighth, caught fire and posted 17 in Round 1. Stanton got off to a slow start in the four-minute round (plus 30 seconds of bonus time), but closed quickly only to fall agonizingly short with 16.
Much of the buildup to the event was centered on the prospect of seeing Stanton ultimately face No. 2 seed, Aaron Judge, of the Yankees. In the first round, Judge eliminated Marlins first baseman Justin Bour in a thriller, 23-22.
Judge took the crown with a dominant power display, beating Minnesota's Miguel Sano in the finals.
"It was a great show," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "[Stanton] got off to a slow start, but got hot at the end. Unfortunately, he didn't have enough to make it to that next round. Had he made it to that next round, I think he would have really been locked in and had his second win."
Based on home runs of at least 440 feet, Stanton -- like Sanchez -- earned 30 seconds of bonus time. Stanton had 15 homers after four minutes, but managed just one in extra time, and his bid to repeat as Derby champion ended.
Judge moved on by defeating Bour, but Stanton actually had the edge in the Tale of the Tape in regards to average distance and exit velocity, according to Statcast™. Stanton's 16 homers in his matchup with Sanchez averaged a projected 456 feet with a 113.9 mph exit velocity. Judge's numbers for Round 1 were 432 feet and 111.9 mph.
"Everyone was trying to put big pressure on me, being at home, me defending my title and everything," Stanton said before his round. "But if I get soaked up in that, I'm not going to have fun. For me, I'm enjoying the moment."
Even though he had a short night, Stanton put on an awe-inspiring performance. Per Statcast™, his longest drive was projected at 496 feet, and his top exit velocity was 121 mph.
Stanton raised the bar in 2016 when he racked up a Derby-record 61 homers at Petco Park in San Diego.
To retain consistency, the four-time All-Star right fielder brought back Pat Shine to throw to him. Shine, formerly an administrative coach with the Marlins, left the organization after last year.
"It was still a lot of fun," Shine said. "I think Miami wanted to see either one of them advance a little farther. I think they enjoyed it. It was good, fun competition."
Growing up in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Stanton was a fan of the Home Run Derby, watching the spectacle every July.
Stanton's father, Mike, would regularly take him to Dodger Stadium to see celebrated home run hitters like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
"I'd like taking him to see as many good players as we could," said Stanton's father. "The same on TV. I told him about the Home Run Derby."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.