Five teams get walk-off wins

Updated: April 3, 2014, 10:56 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Many fans around major league baseball went home happy -- if not emotionally spent -- on Wednesday. The same cannot be said for visiting teams' closers.

There was a lot of drama on the diamond as five games featured walk-off wins:

Tony Sanchez's first walk-off hit of his career came in the 16th inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates outlasted the Chicago Cubs in a game that took 5 hours, 55 minutes. The Pirates are the first team to have an extra-inning walk-off hit in each of their first two games since the 2004 Minnesota Twins.

Sanchez's hit off Carlos Villanueva ended the game just short of 1 a.m. ET. It was six minutes longer than the Pirates' previous franchise record -- an 8-7, 18-inning victory over Houston on May 27, 2006, that took 5:49.

[+] EnlargeIan Kinsler
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesIan Kinsler didn't waste any time making himself at home with the Tigers, driving in the game-winning run with a single in the 11th inning.

• The Detroit Tigers also have walk-off wins in each of their first two games. On Wednesday, offseason addition Ian Kinsler delivered a game-winning single in the 10th inning against the Kansas City Royals.

The last time the Tigers delivered in the clutch in back-to-back games to open a season was 1901 -- the first two games of the franchise's history.

• The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals waited through a long rain delay and were scoreless going into the bottom of the ninth when Chris Heisey hit a walk-off single. It was the second walk-off of Heisey's career -- both against the Cardinals.

Heisey's heroics -- which came in only his second at-bat of the season -- ended a dubious start to the season by the Reds, who set a modern franchise record by failing to score in the first 17 innings of the season. Their previous worst was 13 scoreless innings in 1909 and 1934.

"There's nothing like it," Heisey said. "Sit around 10 hours, then get one at-bat. That's part of being a pinch hitter."

[+] EnlargeShin-Soo Choo
AP Photo/Jim CowsertShin-Soo Choo is mobbed by teammates after a bases-loaded walk gave the Rangers a walk-off win against the Phillies for the second night in a row.

• A day after Adrian Beltre hit a walk-off single for Texas, the Rangers topped the Phillies as Shin-Soo Choo drew a bases-loaded, game-winning walk against closer Jonathan Papelbon.

"The whole inning was kind of just one of those innings. You get a cue ball down the third-base line. Then you get a double-play ball, which you think is the game-ending double play. It's not," said Papelbon, who gave up four hits and two walks while retiring only one batter. "My whole focus was get a ground ball, get a double play and get us out of the inning."

Papelbon wasn't the only closer to implode Wednesday. In all, six pitchers -- Joe Nathan, Glen Perkins, Jason Grilli, Jose VerasJim Johnson and Papelbon -- blew a save in the ninth inning or later. That's the first time that's happened since Aug. 14, 2001.

• Not to be outdone, the Chicago White Sox won on a walk-off wild pitch as the Twins' Samuel Deduno threw one to the backstop in the bottom of the 11th inning, allowing Leury Garcia to race home with the winning run. It was the first walk-off win for the White Sox via a wild pitch since July 4, 1997.

Almost more amazing was how Garcia reached third in the first place. On an 0-2 count, he bunted for a base hit. He then was awarded second when Deduno balked, having never come to a set position, then reached third on a wild pitch.

Deduno then threw way outside on a 3-2 pitch to Adam Dunn, and the ball hit off catcher Kurt Suzuki's glove as Garcia came home.

"You get momentum from that," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "There are ways to hit a home run and win a game, and there's another way to manufacture it and come back. ... You end up doing something that feels new and feels fresh for these guys."

Information from ESPN Stats & Information is included in this report.

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