Category Archives: walk off wins

Mike Trout makes it a Fourth of July no one will ever forget

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[Box Score]

[OC Register]

We had just returned home from our local fireworks display when the Angels gridlocked the Astros at 6-6 on a Howie Kendrick double. As the game headed to the bottom of the ninth inning, we saw that Mike Trout would lead off the inning, and said to ourselves wouldn’t it be just like Trout to do something huge on July 4th to win the game for his team, less than an hour that the news broke that their division rivals had acquired two arms in a big trade (including Jeff Samardzija) that probably puts them out of reach of being caught.

Tony Sipp dealt Trout a low 0-2 pitch, a sin that he would never survive. As the ball went flying into the dark night air, the man that some are calling the runaway AL MVP won another game for his team.

Here it is, forever for your enjoyment. Even though forever isn’t enough time to appreciate how good Mike Trout is right now in the year 2014; at the summer’s highest point.

While you were sleeping, Mike Trout heroics played out

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You know that guy named Mike Trout that has been ‘slumping’ oh so badly? Well, last night he somehow managed to do a good thing. He plucked one directly from the loss column and put it in the Angels’ win column by doing this:

Yes, no sooner did the announcer finish saying that ‘the one thing Mike Trout has never done in his illustrious career is a walk off home run’ when Mr. Simon Says arrives on cue to do just that.

Angels win 6-5, drive home safely folks.

And because he’s Mike Trout and because we are all spoiled by his play each night – he also had a terrific diving catch in this game.

I have got to stop going to sleep before the final out is recorded in a Mike Trout game. The lesson here is that if there is still time left on the clock, there is still time for a Mike Trout moment. Do not go to sleep on him you lazy asses!

ARGHHHHHH GIAMBLES! THAT JACKET BELONGS TO MR. GILMORE ARGGGH!

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The last time Jason Giambi graced the pages of the beauty of a baseball blog, we told you about our buddy Justin who has placed all his Cleveland eggs in the Indians basket.

Last night, Old Man Balls Giambi hit one of the biggest home runs in recent Cleveland sports history, a walk-off job that bailed out Chris Perez and kept the Indians in sole possession of that precious second Wildcard spot in the American League. I also want to add that our resident Indians homer (Justin) told me via phone call that the shot went off the facing of the upper deck. That’s amazing because when I watched the replay of what I’m sure is the same home run, it landed in the bullpen in right. Perhaps he was just a little excited.

Here is the text exchange from our golden boy last evening:

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You gotta love the guy. It was emotional for him. He almost cried. It’s a special year. He was hunting during the birth of two of his three children – I have never seen him cry – but Jason Giambi brings out his sensitive side.

In all seriousness, the Indians are a great story and I hope they hang on this weekend. I don’t want to be on suicide watch for my friend just yet.

ARRGHHHHHAAAAHHHHH! GIAMBLES!

giambles

This one’s for my buddy Justin – my friend who served as the best man in my wedding. My friend who; inevitably every year calls me during my workday to tell me that ‘the Indians are going to the World Series this year’ when they’re hot, and doesn’t watch them because he’s in his deer stand or some shit when they’re losing.

This is the same friend of mine who dead serious walked out of Cleveland Browns Stadium crying in his beer feeling sorry for himself mumbling about how “his football team sucks (Browns), his baseball team sucks (Indians), and his driver (Dale Jr.) sucks”. He thought the world owed him a pat on the back after the Browns screwed up a fake field goal that made all of our heads spin.

Last time I was at a baseball game with him, I was calling Giambi old and telling everyone about his old man balls. Justin took it serious and started getting hot under the collar about it. He’s sensitive about criticism to his Indians. For some reason, he loves Giambi – I assume because he does not realize you cannot build long-term around a player like Jason Giambi. It’s alright. We will let him have his dream for now. A pitch or two on that day, Giambi hit a monster home run off the hitter’s backdrop in Cincinnati and Justin began to gloat like he was Giambi’s nephew. He rubbed it in my face until Joey Votto hit a walk-off home run that day, and then Justin did not talk for the two hour car ride home.

But tonight, Justin is surprisingly nowhere to be heard from. This is mildly concerning because; normally I would have received nothing short of a dozen texts or voxers from Justin until I responded back with “your Indians are good” or “Giambi is a star” text back to him that met his approval. It would allow him to sleep soundly while still having his dream. He’s probably shooting his bow at fake deer or killing something.

Because tonight, Giambi became the oldest player in baseball history to hit a walk-off home run (42 years, 202 days), breaking the previous record held by Hank Aaron. The Indians beat the White Sox 3-2, in the bottom of the ninth.

Justin if you’re out there, I’m happy for you and your old man balls favorite player Giambles. I’m just happy you’re still interested in baseball season in nearly August and not already calling me up telling me how good the Buckeyes are going to be this year (he’s had them winning the national title for the past twenty years, you are not allowed to present argument).

UPDATE (11:06 AM ET) (He’s Fine):

justin

LOL, look at those cocky responses. This is perfect.

Yasiel Puig hits Walk-Off Home Run, Slides into Home Plate

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Yasiel Puig hits a walk-off home run against my favorite team to give the Dodgers a 1-0 win in extra innings, and he slides into home plate feet first to the arms of his awaiting teammates. I should hate this guy with every inch of my soul. But I don’t.

Puig is quickly becoming one of my favorite non-Reds players in baseball. He’s a flashy Cuban with a killer instinct that is too dumb to be fearless and too cocky to ever think he’s going to fail. The game is not too big for him. I think he’s going to be one of those few athletes in baseball who makes his arrogance work in his favor.

Here’s that walk-off that just went down at Chavez Ravine:

And there’s this, so you can get a good look at the bat flip. Curtis Partch never knew what hit him.

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Manny-esque. This guy was meant to play near Hollywood. The Wild Horse. Indeed.

Bryce Harper’s First Career Walk-Off Home Run

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With his team in as dire straits as they’ve been in since his big league career began, Bryce Harper answered the bell.

And right now is an easy time to be critical of Bryce Harper. He’s missed a ton of time this year. He’s hitting .200 since May 1st. He’s had a rough year in a lot of respects. But today, he put his team on his back and got them a win in a game they should have lost.

Bottom of the ninth, game tied 7-7 after Rafael Soriano blew up on the Nationals. Washington fans at the park had to be thinking this was probably going to be the team’s seventh straight loss AT HOME. And it probably would have been.

But Bryce Harper took a cut and said goodnight and drive home safe. Nationals win 9-7. Sorry you were there, Bryan Morris, but you’ve been added to the list of victims.

Gotta love the tweet from Harper:

BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE

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Jay Bruce likes to hit at Great American Ballpark. Jay Bruce has murdered the Brewers through the course of his career. Put it all together, and you get something like we got to end tonight’s ballgame. A walk-off home run off Burke Badenhop (who has owned Bruce throughout his career) just a day after getting four hits in yesterday’s marathon game at Wrigley. It was a pitch that shouldn’t have been hit out of the ballpark. Bruce hit it out the opposite way to win the game 4-3.

Nothing in sports rivals a Jay Bruce hot streak. Nothing.

Angel Pagan with the rare “run off” home run

Angel Pagan slides into a jumping gang of San Francisco Giants.

Angel Pagan slides into a jumping gang of San Francisco Giants.

The San Francisco Giants came back against the Colorado Rockies by scoring 2 runs in the  bottom of the 10th against Rafael Betancourt.  Scoring 2 runs for a come back win isn’t that rare.  Hitting a 2 run home run to walk off is a but rarer.  But hitting a 2 run inside the parl home run to walk off.  You don’t see that too often.  In fact, the last was Rey Sanchez for the Rays in 2004, but angel Pagan managed to do just that today.  He hit the ball to the deepest corner of AT&T Park which usually guarantees a triple, but the ball kicked a little harder than usual and Pagan was able to round the bases.  The celebration was awesome.

[Angel Pagan Run Off]

Here’s Andrew McCutchen’s Fourth Career Walk-off Home Run

One of our favorite players around the league, The Dread Pirate is finding his way once again.

We were actually watching this game live (illegally – MLB blackout restrictions can’t keep us down) when McCutchen went boom off the last arm in the Brewers bullpen, poor Mike Fiers. Pirates win 4-3 in a thriller. And the Pirates are hanging tough at 22-17. They’re not going to the playoffs or anything. But it would be good for baseball if the Buccos were able to finally crack that .500 egg after all these years.

We’ve got a suspicion this is going to be the year.

We Live with him, We Die with him, and when he triumps we celebrate with him

Jay Bruce homered tonight in the 9th inning (to left field) in a 0-0 tie game to win the game for the Cincinnati Reds 3-0. The win was the Reds 70th of the season. It was Bruce’s 123rd career home run. While some may have come in bigger moments when the spotlight shined brighter, we’re not sure that he’s ever truly hit a bigger one.

This season hasn’t altogether gone as we had it written up for the Reds’ right fielder. We had him as the National League MVP coming into 2012. Fair or unfair, it just hasn’t materialized into that type of season.

After an April that saw him hit .296 and close out the month with home runs in four straight games, it’s been a season long slump. It’s felt that way. But Bruce’s manager has stuck with him through trying times. For all the grief Dusty Baker gets for his odd machinations and far out inventions in the form of a lineup, thank you Dusty for being a player’s manager on this night.

To hit a home run in the 9th inning of a game to the opposite field off a tough lefty with the way that things have been going, that’s just a huge moment. And maybe Bruce continues to slumber through the final six weeks and change of the regular season, who knows. But maybe this is the start of one of Jay Bruce’s epic hot streaks that carries a team to a division title.

Because tonight felt just a little bit like 2010 didn’t it? It seemed that not a body had left–and for good reason–when Bruce hit the line drive into the first row of seats in left field. It’s one of those nights where you’re mad that you had an excuse not to be there taking it in with 29,000 of your closest friends.

The end of 2009 and especially that August and September of 2010, was truly vintage Jay Bruce. It was a time where he seemed on top of the baseball world and no one could get him out. And more often than not when he connected, the ball left the yard. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life watching baseball. It was incredible.

He put together one of those epic hot streaks in May of 2011 and had the minor eruption in April of this season that we touched on, and has since gone missing.

He’s homered in two straight. Not surprisingly, the Reds won them both. Why is one player so paramount to the Reds success? When Bruce succeeds, the Reds are seemingly unstoppable. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Lifetime, in a Reds win, Jay Bruce OPS’s over an astounding .960 clip.

I don’t know how this chapter ends or where it falls in the story. I don’t know if we’re at the halfway point or beginning to ride the downward slope towards the end. All I know is that tonight when Jay Bruce rounded the bases I felt the joy you can only feel for someone when you’ve suffered through the good times and the bad with someone, even if he doesn’t know that we’ve all been along for the ride with him every step of the way.

Jay Bruce is one of us. Born and raised a Cincinnati Red. He provides us with another magical moment in what has thus far been a magical summer.

And if this is the beginning of one of those hot streaks that you never forget, I guarantee you the entire baseball world will be on notice.

Was Last Night the Washington Nationals’ Biggest Win of the Year?

[Box Score]

WaPo | DC Sports Bog | ESPN New York Mets Blog | MetsBlog | Amazin’ Avenue

If I was in Las Vegas last night, I would have bet the Mets. And I would have lost.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Mets; and not the Atlanta Braves, will be the team that poses the most threat down the stretch to the mighty Nationals. I thought last night was going to be the first chop of the axe. The Nationals showed some amazing resolve after Tyler Clippard gave up a 3-run bomb to some light hitting little infielder named Jordanny Valdespin hit a 3-run shot off Tyler Clippard to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Things were just getting started.

The Nationals rallied to tie the game at 3-3 and send it to the 10th. The Mets reclaimed the lead again at 4-3. Bryce Harper hit a rocket triple to right field to tie the game. The Nationals won it on a wild pitch. It had all the ingredients of the type of game that teams like the 2012 Nationals get. The bounces go the way they need them to go. A game of inches gets handed to them not once, but twice after they surrender the lead.

The 2012 Nationals just might be for real.

Big Folly Caps Off Up and Down Weekend

The whole weekend got off to the wrong foot when I got home Friday evening and the power was out. The Reds were coming off a lifeless 5-0 loss on Thursday night. It was around 95 degrees, and all I wanted to do was have a quiet and boring night in watching baseball (what else is new?). My wife and I had dinner, figuring that we would return home to air conditioning and some semblance of power. Instead, both of our phones died while we were out and when I returned and charged mine I got a text from a friend who lives nearby saying that it could be a week before power was restored.

Even though it was after 10 PM, it was still between 90 and 95 degrees. My wife went to bed in a salty mood. I climbed in my truck and began charging my phone, with Marty and Cowboy streaming through the MLB At Bat app. When I got my phone half charged I came in and collapsed on the couch. I fell asleep listening to baseball for one of the first times since I was a little kid. Jay Bruce went 4 for 4 off Matt Cain. The Reds won 5-1. It was only Friday night. Hopefully when I awoke the power would be back on and we could get on with our lives.

It wasn’t. At least not initially. Mat Latos threw a gem though and the Reds were rolling again. All was right with the baseball world. And then my wife made me go see Magic Mike in the theater. As much as I love Boogie Nights (all-time top five movie for me), this was no Boogie Nights. Though my buddy and I got a few laughs out of the Kevin Nash cameo, the highpoint ended there.

And then Sunday. Power restored, life is once again whole. The Reds need a win to take 3 out of 4 to begin a brutal West Coast road trip. As usual, it was a complete struggle and we would learn that it was entirely not meant to be. The Reds struggled and slumbered around all day long, only to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the ninth. Of course, they loaded the bases with no outs and only got one run out of it. And of course, the Giants had something for them in the bottom half of the frame.

Fly ball to right field, and Jay Bruce misplays it. After a clutch single in the top of the 9th to begin the rally and scoring the game’s tying run, Bruce gifted the Giants a walk-off win. It reminded me a lot of NLDS game 2 back in 2010. Nothing else really makes sense other than Bruce was thinking about the moment and what was at stake rather than a routine that he’s performed thousands of times in his life. The moment became too big for him. I’m still riding with Jay Bruce for his whole career. No matter how much he frustrates or runs cold or looks like he’ll never hit again; he’s our guy.

About 98% of people who watch from their couch have never had to make a play on a ball like Bruce had to with the game on the line. It’s really hard. Whether he’s a professional or not I know exactly what happened there, at least I feel like I do.

You can watch the heartbreaking ending of yesterday’s game unfold here. Or don’t. I hate how the Reds do this to me.

Bryce Harper’s first Walk-off hit

[Box Score]

[Nationals Journal] [Nats Insider]

While I watched the Miami Heat choke it away last night on TV, I had this game on my computer. I’m glad I did, because it provided a little baseball history.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/MLBNetwork/status/210212877309718528"]

This was one of those really weird games where the baseball Gods were just determined to have their way. It seemed like the Mets delivered the death blow in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th innings. Instead, the Nationals just kept getting chances and when Harper came up to the plate with the bases juiced and two out in the 12th, you knew high drama was around the corner.

I was hoping to see something like a walk-off grand slam. With the way Mets reliever Elvin Ramirez was throwing, I was pretty certain that the game would end on something anti-climactic like a bases-loaded walk.

Instead there was a happy medium: a nice piece of hitting that resulted in a soft line drive to the opposite field.

The Nats are a team on a mission right now and Harper is providing the electricity. If you watched how the Mets continually let victory slip through their fingers, you start to realize that things like that only happen to teams like the 2012 Nationals who are putting together a special little season here. The win allowed them to stay in sole possession of first place too.

And I’m just wonder what Harper is going to do next. The good news is that at the rate he’s going it’s likely going to happen tonight.

When a Moment Can Change a Season

[Box Score]

[Cincinnati.com]

I knew trailing 6-5 in the 9th, that if the Reds could get Joey Votto to the plate that they would win the ballgame.

All that needed to happen was Chris Heisey reaching base. By the way I had seen Votto going earlier in the day, it didn’t matter how hard Henry Rodriguez was throwing. His fastball was simply too straight to sneak past Votto three times with the bases loaded and the game on the line. And it was a big ballgame. The Reds again salvage a miracle contest on getaway day to improve their record to 10-1 in such contests.

For as many friends that want to text message me and tell me that “the Reds had no business winning this game,” I say in rebuttal that the Reds show what is at their core in these types of contests. Teams continue to let them off the hook in the final frame, and the Reds continue to scrap out tough wins that good teams find a way to win.

Now, I had no idea that Votto would hit a dramatic walk-off grand slam into the center field green off Rodriguez, but when he did it I knew in my heart that this was still Joey Votto’s team; and we are still watching one of the game’s finest hitters at work.

They were calling him ‘The Natural’ after the ballgame. And the Reds had the type of victory that salvages not only a series from a sweep but perhaps an entire season.

This wasn’t Joey Votto’s first county fair. In fact, he’s hit another big game-winning blast on another Mother’s Day. And that homer was also a defining moment in a special season of Reds baseball. Flash back to 2010, a day that many of you have probably forgotten. The Reds beat the Cubs that day a few years ago and then rolled to the division title.

Will 2012 have the a similar fate? I was just about to stop believing in my lofty prediction of a Reds NLCS appearance. And then Joey Votto put the Reds on his shoulders and told me not so fast.

It’s going to be a hot summer in Cincinnati, and things are just getting started.

Highlights:

Bryce Harper loses Bruce’s RBI double in the lights

JOEY VOTTO WALK-OFF GRAND SLAM

Votto hit two other home runs in this game. Here they are.

Heisey home-plate assist

Potpourri:

  • I thought that this post by Joe Posnanski on the struggles of Albert Pujols really captured my feelings on him. I don’t feel Pujols is ‘close’. I don’t feel that he’s going to come out of this anytime soon. In fact, I think he’ll do what Adam Dunn did last season. When I saw Pujols’ messy swings last night on Sunday Night Baseball, I felt the same as Posnanski. Albert is a mess right now, and it’s a long way out of this woods.
  • Thank you, Giancarlo Stanton.