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Lobaton with an unlikely walk-off homer

10/8/2013

Joe Maddon described the Tampa Bay Rays win over the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 as both interesting and wonderful.

Jose Lobaton was the one who helped make it so, with a walk-off homer that kept Tampa Bay’s season alive.

Walk-off homers tend to produce notes that usually fit the interesting and wonderful description. Here are a few that we found:

Five fun facts about this walk-off home run

Lobaton’s home run was the 46th walk-off homer in postseason history and first by the Rays.

Walk-Off HR vs Red Sox
Postseason History

It was the fourth walk-off home run against the Red Sox, the first since Aaron Boone hit one against them in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. The four walk-off homers allowed are tied with the Yankees, Dodgers and Astros for the most all-time.

Lobaton is the first catcher to hit a walk-off homer in a postseason game since Todd Pratt hit a series-ender for the Mets against the Diamondbacks in the 1999 NLDS.

This is the third straight season that a player has hit a walk-off home run with his team facing postseason elimination. David Freese hit one in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals against the Rangers. Jayson Werth hit one for the Nationals against the Cardinals in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS.

Lobaton has nine career home runs. The last player with fewer career home runs at the time of his postseason walk-off was Chris Burke, who had five at the time of his NLDS winner for the Astros against the Braves in 2005.

Inside the At-Bat: The Walk-Off Homer

This was not the first time that Lobaton has had a big hit for the Rays this season. He had a walk-off triple and a walk-off homer against the Blue Jays in the same weekend in mid-August.

But this one, against Red Sox closer extraordinaire Koji Uehara, would be a little more amazing.

Uehara had allowed only one earned run in his previous 41 1/3 innings entering Monday and hadn’t allowed a homer since June 30.

He had faced 142 consecutive batters without allowing a home run before Lobaton took him deep.

Uehara threw a split-fingered fastball that dropped to the bottom of the strike zone, high enough for Lobaton to do damage against. It was the lowest pitch in terms of location among the 10 pitches he’s hit for home runs in his career.

But it also matched the farthest he’s hit a home run-- 419 feet.

It was the 45th time Lobaton saw a splitter as a hitter in his career.

The previous 44 resulted in nine outs, one walk … and no hits.