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Sunday, May 26, 2013
Kernels: Wild week for walk-offs

By Doug Kern

Our review of the game's interesting and unusual stats from the last week.

Theme of the Week: Lots of Walk-Offs
Two eerily-similar walk-off stories happened within a half-hour of each other on Sunday. The Blue Jays and Red Sox, both trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of the 9th, both won their games 6-5 via a two-out, two-run double.

Munenori Kawasaki and Jacoby Ellsbury (respectively) capped the four-run comebacks to defeat the Orioles and Indians.

Entering Sunday's game, the Blue Jays had scored only 13 runs in the 9th inning the entire season. Kawasaki's hit was just the 11th one in franchise history to turn a two-out deficit into a walk-off win; the first since Gregg Zaun's 13th-inning grand slam beat the Rays on September 6, 2008.

Ellsbury has now had four walk-off hits in his career, and three have been against Cleveland. Boston also has three of the league's 10 walk-off doubles this season-- a total that already matches the entire 2012 campaign.

And it's the first day in 40 years where two teams hit walk-off doubles while trailing at the time. On August 26, 1972, Cesar Cedeņo of the Astros hit one to defeat Montreal, and Boston's Phil Gagliano hit his fourth and final career walk-off to beat the Rangers.

Other walk-off items of note:

• We could call Angel Pagan’s walk-off inside-the-park homer on Saturday (the first by anyone since Rey Sanchez in 2004) a sprint-off. Pagan raced the whole 360 feet in less than 15 seconds, according to the Tater Trot Tracker .

• The Indians had three walk-off wins in a four-game series with the Mariners, the first time they'd done that (and/or within any four-day span) since July 23-26, 1992. In that series with the Kansas City Royals, Carlos Baerga won two games with a homer and a sac fly; and Junior Ortiz singled home Mark Whiten with the winning run in another game.

It was the first time in Mariners history they had lost three games in the same series via walk-off. It's the 10th time in their history they've lost three walk-offs within a week.

• Jose Bautista had a four-hit, four-RBI game with a walk-off hit last Wednesday. He’s the second player in the last three seasons to have four hits, four RBI and a walk-off anything in the same game. Joey Votto of the Reds did that in his three-homer game (including a walk-off grand slam) last May 13.

Player Feat of the Week: Mike Trout’s cycle
Mike Trout recorded the season's first cycle on Tuesday when he went strikeout-single-triple-double-homer in the Los Angeles Angels' 12-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners. It was the first cycle by an Angels batter since Chone Figgins had one on Septmber 16, 2006.

Thanks to the bases being loaded when he hit the double, Trout ended up with 5 RBI in that game, the most in a cycle game since B.J. Upton went 5-for-5 with six driven in on October 2, 2009.

Trout's cycle was also the first to occur in a 12-or-more-run shutout since Mike Blowers of Oakland did it in a 14-0 defeat of the Chicago White Sox on May 18, 1998.

Speaking of Trout, if you need someone to score two runs a game for you, he's your man. Starting with his cycle on Tuesday, and continuing through Saturday, Trout went five straight games this week where he crossed the plate multiple times.

The only other player in Angels franchise history to go five straight games scoring multiple runs was Don Baylor, who scored exactly two runs in seven straight games from June 28 through July 4, 1979.