<
>

Kernels: A week of wacky walk-offs

8/4/2013

It was a week for walk-offs, the kind of week that hasn't been seen in some time.

• Sunday through Wednesday brought us a combined 13 walk-off hits, including at least three each day. In the era of complete searchable play-by-play (which dates to 1973), that was the most walk-off hits in any four-day span. Twelve in four days was last done in July 1999.

• However, Thursday may have provided the most dramatic walk-off win of the season. One day after Stephen Drew's 15th-inning walk-off hit, the Red Sox entered the ninth inning trailing the Mariners 7-2 and with a win probability that briefly dipped as low as 0.6%. Ten batters and only one out later, Boston had racked up six hits, three walks, six runs, and an 8-7 victory on a walk-off single by Daniel Nava (who also drew the walk to start the inning).

It was Boston's 11th walk-off win of the season, leading the majors, and just two shy of their team record set in 1940.

• Jason Giambi's pinch-hit walk-off homer in Cleveland on Monday was the 436th of his career. It also made the 42-year-old Giambi the oldest player ever to hit a walk-off home run, topping the mark of Hank Aaron (1976) by 45 days. Giambi now has the odd split of going deep 218 times at home and 218 times on the road.

Non Walk-off Kernels

The White Sox had not surrendered a walk-off home run yet this season, and hadn't allowed one to the Indians since Omar Vizquel took Keith Foulke deep on September 9, 2001.

• The Indians weren't done for the week, however. Carlos Santana ended Wednesday's game with a 10th-inning solo shot to beat the White Sox 6-5. That gives the Indians five walk-off homers this season, the most in the majors. The Giants and Red Sox each have four.

• Not long after Giambi's blast, Rangers catcher Geovany Soto brought an end to Monday's game with a solo shot off Ernesto Frieri of the Angels. Soto's home run was the game-winner, but earlier in the 9th inning, A.J. Pierzynski had tied the game with his own solo homer.

That made the Rangers the fourth team this season to hit a tying home run and a walk-off homer in the same inning.

Elias noted that the Rangers had three straight wins via walk-off homer, only the fourth time in major-league history that has happened. Only one other team has won all three games of a series via walk-off homer: the 1999 Arizona Diamondbacks against the Montreal Expos.

• Aroldis Chapman-- who gave up the tying and walk-off homers to the Phillies on May 19-- ended up on the wrong side of Monday's third walk-off homer—this one to Chris Denorfia of the San Diego Padres. It put Chapman in the company of Tommy Hunter and Carlos Marmol as the only pitchers this season to allow multiple walk-off home runs.

Denorfia drove in Yonder Alonso who was on first base, also meaning the Padres were trailing (1-0) at the time.

It was the fourth time in Padres history that they'd gotten a pinch-hit, walk-off homer when trailing; and the first since September 28, 1988 against the Dodgers (Mark Parent), the same day Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser broke the record for the longest scoreless innings streak in major-league history.

• The pairing of Giambi and Denorfia gave us the first day with two pinch-hit walk-off homers since June 2, 1995, when Ellis Burks of the Rockies and Rusty Greer of the Rangers each hit one.

• And we haven't even covered the most unusual of Monday's walk-offs: An Andrelton Simmons triple that gave the Braves a 9-8 win over the Colorado Rockies in the 10th inning, after the Rockies had tied the game in the top of the 9th.

Walk-off triples are fairly unusual because the rule requires a batter to actually run out all three bases, and the majority are content to stop at second and watch the play at the plate. In fact, there had been only one other walk-off triple this season, by Ryan Doumit of the Twins on June 1. There were three walk-off triples last year, and the last season with MORE than three was 20 years ago in 1993. Some years don't have any.

The Rockies had never allowed a walk-off triple in their 21-year history. And the Braves hadn't hit one in nearly 60 years (Harry Hanebrink, 1953)