Cleveland Indians: 5 Best Walk-off Wins of 2011
The Cleveland Indians enjoyed a memorable season filled with thrilling walk-off wins in 2011. In a season which found the Tribe in contention into the month of August, fans were treated to 12 walk-off wins.
Seven of those walk-off wins came courtesy of the long ball. The 2011 season also saw the Tribe put together 36 comeback wins as well as 18 victories in their last at-bat.
Hopefully, the upcoming 2012 season will have some of the same late-inning heroics, but all fans can probably agree that earning a playoff berth would be more exciting than a season filled with walk-off wins ending in missing the postseason.
Besides the five walk-off hits that made this list, the Cleveland Indians had several other exciting plays to win games. Here are a couple that didn't make the cut into the top five.
1) Orlando Cabrera's walk-off single vs. the Detroit Tigers.
2) Michael Brantley's walk-off walk vs. the Tampa Bay Rays.
3) Kosuke Fukudome's walk-off hit-by-pitch vs. the the Detroit Tigers.
Now, without further ado, onto the top five Indians walk-off wins of the 2011 season.
5. Cord Phelps Cracks a Walk-off 3-Run Homer vs. the Pirates on 06/19/2011
Cord Phelps did not have many high points during his brief stint with the Indians in 2011. However, one of those high points was a play that would be considered a highlight for any major league player.
On June 19, 2011, the Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates were deadlocked at two in the 11th inning when Phelps stepped up to the plate.
On the second pitch of the at-bat, with runners on first and second, Phelps drove a home run to the seats in right field to score the game-winning runs.
4. Travis Hafner Drills a Walk-off 2-Run Homer vs. the Mariners on 05/13/2011
Although injuries have limited Travis Hafner in recent seasons, when he is healthy, he can still deliver clutch hits for the Tribe.
He also still shows flashes of the power that made him one of the most feared designated hitters in all of the American League during his prime.
On May 13, 2011, the Tribe were down by a run in the bottom of the ninth with two outs against the Seattle Mariners. On the second pitch of his at-bat, Hafner drove a towering home run to dead center field to give the Indians a win.
3. Jason Kipnis Hits a Walk-off Single vs. the Angels on 07/25/2011
Every player that makes it to the major leagues will always remember their first hit. It is a moment that they waited to experience for a long time.
Jason Kipnis, however, has an even bigger reason to remember his first hit. That is because it gave his team a win in in the bottom of the ninth.
On July 25th, 2011, Kipnis smacked a single into right field with the bases loaded to break a game deadlocked at two runs. He hit the second pitch of his at-bat between first and second base to drive in the game-winning run.
2. Travis Hafner Crushes a Walk-off Grand Slam vs. the Blue Jays on 05/13/2011
While a walk-off home run is one of the ultimate achievements that a player can enjoy, there is one play that is even more exciting. That play is the walk-off grand slam. Hitting a walk-off grand slam is extremely rare and Indians fans were able to experience two of them in 2011.
On May 13, 2011, with the Tribe down three runs, Hafner stepped up to the dish with the bases loaded. He crushed the first pitch that he saw deep into the right field stands for the game-winning grand slam.
Needless to say, the crowd went wild, and the usually reserved Hafner even celebrated as he rounded the bases. It was Hafner's first home run since the middle of April from the season prior, and it couldn't have come at a better time for the Tribe.
1. Carlos Santana Smacks a Walk-off Grand Slam vs. the Tigers on 04/29/2011
While the Indians eventually fell short of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central Division race, they did get the better of their rivals early on in the 2011 season.
On April 29th, 2011, Carlos Santana stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied at five and the bases loaded. He worked the count to 3-1 before driving the fifth pitch of the at-bat deep into the night at Progressive Field.
The ball landed deep in the right field seats for a game-winning grand slam and Santana started the trend of exciting finishes for the Indians in the 2011 season.